2nd Sunday in Advent: 05 Dec 2021 – Mal 3:1-5; Ps 126; 1 Cor 4:8-21; Luke 3:1-6 ~ Prepare for the Coming Day of Judgement

2nd Sunday in Advent: 05 Dec 2021
Anglican Church of North America
[Lectionary Year C]

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

Opening:

Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for
our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and
inwardly digest them, that by patience and the comfort of your
holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope
of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus
Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah,
who was living in the wilderness. Then John went from place to place
on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized
to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven.
(Luke 3:2-3)

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On Jordan’s Bank The Baptist’s Cry – Hymn for the Week
Trinity Lutheran Church and Mt. Hope Lutheran Church (LCMS),
Gaylord and Grayling, Michigan

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OT Reading: Mal 3:1-5 (NLT)

The Coming Day of Judgment

3:1 “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. Then the Lord you are seeking will suddenly come to his Temple. The messenger of the covenant, whom you look for so eagerly, is surely coming,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

2 “But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes. 3 He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord. 4 Then once more the Lord will accept the offerings brought to him by the people of Judah and Jerusalem, as he did in the past.

5 “At that time I will put you on trial. I am eager to witness against all sorcerers and adulterers and liars. I will speak against those who cheat employees of their wages, who oppress widows and orphans, or who deprive the foreigners living among you of justice, for these people do not fear me,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

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Psalm: Psalm 126 – The Lord Has Done Great Things For Us – Francesca LaRosa

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NT Reading: 1 Cor 4:8-21 (NLT)

4:8 You think you already have everything you need. You think you are already rich. You have begun to reign in God’s kingdom without us! I wish you really were reigning already, for then we would be reigning with you. 9 Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor’s parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world—to people and angels alike.

10 Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed. 11 Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. 12 We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. 13 We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment.

14 I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. 15 For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. 16 So I urge you to imitate me.

17 That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go.

18 Some of you have become arrogant, thinking I will not visit you again. 19 But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. 20 For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. 21 Which do you choose? Should I come with a rod to punish you, or should I come with love and a gentle spirit?

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Power | Live | Elevation Worship

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Gospel Reading: Luke 3:1-6 (NLT)

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

3:1 It was now the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, the Roman emperor. Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea; Herod Antipas was ruler over Galilee; his brother Philip was ruler over Iturea and Traconitis; Lysanias was ruler over Abilene. 2 Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests. At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness. 3 Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. 4 Isaiah had spoken of John when he said,

“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
Clear the road for him!
5 The valleys will be filled,
and the mountains and hills made level.
The curves will be straightened,
and the rough places made smooth.
6 And then all people will see
the salvation sent from God.’”

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Prepare The Way – Bethel Music feat. Bethany Wohrle & Dante Bowe | Revival’s In The Air

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Prayer:

Prayer for Advent 2 | Thisischurch.com

Introduction

Give us now a sense of your presence Lord, as we bring our prayers and requests to you, and enable us to open our hearts and minds to you. We seek to put aside our busy rushing, and to sense that awe and wonder which comes from an awareness that we are in your presence. Dearest Lord, for us you humbled yourself and lived a human life. We know that you understand our worries and fears, and so we pray trusting in your willingness to share our concerns for ourselves and others.

An Advent Prayer

Lord Jesus forgive us when we live our lives without trusting in your promise that you will come again. Help us to be watchful and prayerful, and living in such a sense of expectation that we use our time modelling our lives on your example. Help us to hear afresh the challenge of John the Baptist to make our lives ready for your coming. May we be filled with an expectancy which causes us to make ourselves ready this Christmas for you to make your home with us. We seek afresh to straighten our crooked paths and make our lives holy places fit for our King.

A prayer for our world

Heavenly Father, our world is facing enormous problems which seem of such magnitude that we cannot easily imagine how we can live at peace. Global war and terrorism, displacement, disease, and poverty: we are powerless to end. We pray especially for all of those suffering because of their faith, and those affected in South Africa by the pandemic. We pray for those who have no daily bread and we are humbled when we seek to possess more, when so many have so little. When we are faced with world problems which are of such enormity, help us never to give up hope, but to place our trust in you for the future.

A prayer for our communities

Lord Jesus you lived an ordinary life in Nazareth, with human parents, brothers and sisters. You understand the difficulties faced in families. We pray for all of those involved in providing support for troubled families and strengthening our community life. Especially we pray this week for those engaged in supporting families. Help us to care more for each other so that the vulnerable are supported and protected. As we draw closer to Christmas, we think of those who are concerned about money worries, those who have no homes or who fear losing their homes through lack of finance. In whatever difficulties we face, may our eyes be drawn to your presence amongst us and may we seek your strength to provide the answer to our needs.

A prayer for our spiritual leaders

Lord God, John the Baptist called the people to change their lives and make themselves ready for the coming of your son. Raise up we pray, prophetic voices in our own time. Enable our souls to discern the authentic voices which draw us closer to you. We pray for all those who teach and preach, those who minister to congregations to bring your Gospel truth to life in human hearts. May they be as unwavering as your servant John, as fearless in proclaiming the truth and as willing to suffer for being faithful and true. Enable our spiritual leaders to recognize the validation of their ministry not in the realization of human ambition, but in the spiritual peace which comes from serving you.

A prayer for ourselves

Lord Jesus we often pray that your kingdom would come. So, we ask that your reign in our lives would flourish and grow. Strengthen us especially at this busy time, that we might make time for preparation. In the midst of the rush of life, help us to find inner quietness and an awareness of your presence. Let this Christmas be a time when we concern ourselves not so much with material presents, but rather our spiritual blessings.

A prayer for those sick or troubled

Savior may your blessing be upon all those who are in pain or sickness, those who are anxious or troubled. You are always present with us, even when sometimes you seem far away. You are with us when we pass through dark places, close by our side. In our pains and sorrows, in desolate times when we feel perplexed and forsaken, help us to look upon your cross, to see the depth of your love for us. When we are wounded in body or mind, help us to see your wounds and be mindful that you carry our pain. Sustain us in times of suffering and brings us through the valleys of darkness into the light of your presence.

A prayer for those who have been bereaved

Give rest, dear Savior, to the souls of those who have gone from our lives to meet with you. May they be no more in pain or sorrow, but only life eternal at rest in your presence.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen

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Benediction: Luke 3:4,6 (NLT)

‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
Clear the road for him!
 And then all people will see
the salvation sent from God.’”

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

2nd Sunday in Advent, 08 Dec 2019, Matthew 3:1-12 ~ Prepare: repent and turn to God!

2nd Sunday in Advent

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

Opening Prayer:

Your kingdom is at hand, O God of justice and peace; you made John the Baptist its herald to announce the coming of your Christ, who baptizes with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Give us a spirit of repentance to make us worthy of the kingdom. Let complacency yield to conviction, that in our day justice will flourish and conflict give way to the peace you bestow in Christ.

Grant this through him whose coming is certain, whose day draws near: your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.
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Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus” – Red Mountain Music

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Gospel Reading: Matthew 3:1-12 (NLT)

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said,

“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’”

John’s clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.

“I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”

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Prepare The Way” – Simply Taizé

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Intercession:

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

And now Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers for the church and for the world as we prepare for the return of Christ Jesus in glory. We pray especially –

+ For the peace of the whole world, especially in the Middle East,
that all may repent and turn to you….

+ For the well-being and unity of your people, throughout the world,
that all may repent and turn to you….

+ For all those who proclaim the Gospel at home and abroad,
that all may repent and turn to you….

+ For all who teach and disciple others at home and abroad,
that all may repent and turn to you….

+ For our nation, for those in authority, and for all in public service,
that all may repent and turn to you….

For our brothers and sisters in Christ who are persecuted for their faith,
that all may repent and turn to you….

+ For all those who are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity,
that all may repent and turn to you….

Heavenly Father, grant these our prayers for the sake of Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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“Isaiah 11:1-10 Lo A Rose E’re Blooming” – Sting

https://youtu.be/GbcBXYP4AlE?rel=0
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Closing: (Romans 15:13)

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

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

Wednesday Morning: 13 Nov 2019 – Luke 2:1-3:22 ~ Jesus is God’s dearly loved Son who brings Him great joy.

Wednesday Morning

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

Opening (A Collect for Grace – Wednesday)

O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, you have brought us safely to the beginning of this day: Defend us by your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin nor run into any danger; and that guided by your Spirit, we may do what is righteous in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Luke 2:1-3:22 (NLT)

The Birth of Jesus

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

The Shepherds and Angels

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

Jesus Is Presented in the Temple

Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.

Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.” So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

The Prophecy of Simeon

At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,

“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
as you have promised. I have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared for all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

The Prophecy of Anna

Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.

When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.

Jesus Speaks with the Teachers

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends.

When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”

“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they didn’t understand what he meant.

Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.

Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

It was now the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, the Roman emperor. Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea; Herod Antipas was ruler over Galilee; his brother Philip was ruler over Iturea and Traconitis; Lysanias was ruler over Abilene. Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests. At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness. Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. Isaiah had spoken of John when he said,

“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
Clear the road for him!

The valleys will be filled,
and the mountains and hills made level.
The curves will be straightened,
and the rough places made smooth.

And then all people will see
the salvation sent from God.’”

When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”

The crowds asked, “What should we do?”

John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.”

Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, “Teacher, what should we do?”

He replied, “Collect no more taxes than the government requires.”

“What should we do?” asked some soldiers.

John replied, “Don’t extort money or make false accusations. And be content with your pay.”

Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah. John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.” John used many such warnings as he announced the Good News to the people.

John also publicly criticized Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, for marrying Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for many other wrongs he had done. So Herod put John in prison, adding this sin to his many others.

The Baptism of Jesus

One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
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Morning Reflection:

“You are my dearly loved Son,
and you bring me great joy.”
(Luke 3:22)

Today’s lengthy reading takes us from the birth of Jesus all the way to his baptism. In between, Luke includes prophesies and promises surrounding the coming of the Messiah. And at the end, God adds His seal of approval – Jesus is God’s beloved Son who brings Him great joy. Jesus will fulfill God’s purposes and promises for His people. So let’s review some of these promises –

  • Jesus is God’s Good News , bringing great joy to all people.
  • Jesus is God’s promised Salvation, prepared for all people.
  • Jesus is God’s Light, revealing God to all people.
  • Jesus is God’s Light, the glory of Israel.
  • Jesus is God’s Way, causing the rise and fall of many.
  • Jesus is God’s Sword, revealing our heart and soul’s deepest thoughts.
  • Jesus is God’s Wisdom, amazing all who listen.
  • Jesus baptizes believers with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
  • Jesus is God’s Judge, separating the godly from the ungodly.

Jesus is God’s dearly loved Son who brings Him great joy.

Questions for consideration

  • In today’s reading, did you discover something new you hadn’t thought about before? Please explain.
  • Which of the prophesies surrounding Jesus stands out for you? Please explain.
  • Does today’s reading change how you view Christmas? Please explain.
  • What changes can you make in your life, lifestyle, that would bring God joy? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: – Collect for Christmas Day

Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born of a pure virgin: Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

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“Joy To The World” – Live At The Helix In Dublin, Ireland

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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

Thursday Morning: 15 Aug 2019 – Matthew 3:1-17 ~ Baptism with Water, the Holy Spirit, and Fire.

Thursday Morning

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

Opening (A Collect for Guidance – Thursday)

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: Guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our lives we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Matthew 3:1-17 (NLT)

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said,

“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’”

John’s clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducee coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.

“I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”

The Baptism of Jesus

Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?”

But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him.

After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”
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Morning Reflection:

Baptism with Water, the Holy Spirit, and Fire.
“I baptize you with water for repentance,
but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

– Matthew 3:11 –

In today’s Gospel account, Matthew introduces three baptisms – with water, the Holy Spirit, and fire – all in support of presenting Jesus as the Messiah and King of the Jews who will usher in the Kingdom of God. The high point is Jesus’ own baptism in which the Son receives the Father’s blessing (dearly loved, brings me great joy), and the Holy Spirit’s seal of approval (descending like a dove). The theophany displayed at Jesus’ baptism expressed the trinitarian presence and character of God.

But what of the three baptisms that John introduced?

+ Baptism of repentance with water – turn away from your sins and turn to God in preparation for the coming of God’s Kingdom. John’s baptism of repentance was a public sign that marked a a new direction, a new reason for living, in people’s lives

+ Baptism of power with the Holy Spirit – the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus was a display of God’s empowerment to accomplish the Messianic ministry he was about to begin. This empowerment was given to Jesus to speak and act with the authority of God. It is an authority that would be given later (after Pentecost) to all believers

+ Baptism of purification with fire – repentance and empowerment eventually lead every believe to confrontation with “the world, the flesh, and the devil” – the source of all temptation and the enemies of our souls. It’s in this baptism of fire that believers are purified and unbelievers are exposed.

Baptismal Questions for consideration:

  • Do you renounce the devil and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God?
  • Do you renounce the empty promises and deadly deceits of this world that corrupt and destroy the creatures of God?
  • Do you renounce the sinful desires of the flesh that draw you from the love of God?
  • Do you turn to Jesus Christ and confess him as your Lord and Savior?
  • Do you joyfully receive the Christian Faith, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments?
  • Will you obediently keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walk in them all the days of your life?

Answer: I will, the Lord being my helper.
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Morning Prayer – Baptismal Prayer

Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon these your servants the forgiveness of sin, received them as your own children by adoption, made them members of your holy Church, and raised them to the new life of grace. Sustain them, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit, that they may enjoy everlasting salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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“Holy Spirit Rain Down” – Hillsong Worship

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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

Monday Morning: 22 Apr 2019 – Mark 1:1-20 ~ This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.

Monday Morning

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

Opening (A Collect for the Renewal of Life – Monday)

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Mark 1:1-20 (NLT)

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It began just as the prophet Isaiah had written:

“Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way. He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’”

This messenger was John the Baptist. He was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. His clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey.

John announced: “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”

The Baptism and Temptation of Jesus

One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said,

“You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”

The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.

Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News.

“The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”

The First Disciples

One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them,

“Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”

And they left their nets at once and followed him.

A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.
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Morning Reflection:

Today we resume our reading through the New Testament with the Gospel of Mark.

This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. – Mark 1:1

Here is some background information you might find helpful –

  • Authorship: Attributed to John Mark, who accompanied Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary journey but left these apostles when they reached Perga.
  • Date: Sometime between AD 63 and 70.
  • Audience: Written for Gentile readers originally, particularly Romans, who were suffering persecution and martyrdom throughout the Roman empire.
  • Characteristics: Mark wants his readers to believe that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God, and to follow Him.
    • Reads like a reporter’s eyewitness account including many intimate details.
    • Stresses Jesus’ acts and gives a prominent place to His miracles.
    • Emphasizes Jesus’ role as the Servant of the Lord.
    • Introduces Jesus as the “Son of God.”
    • Reveals Jesus’ preference for the title “Son of man.”
  • Purpose:
    • Pastorally: The biographical material he chose to include and omit suggests that he wanted to enable his Christian readers to endure suffering and persecution for their faith effectively. About one third of this Gospel deals with the passion of Jesus.
    • Theologically: Mark stresses the true humanity of Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus was the human servant of God who suffered as no other person has suffered, completely obedient to His Father’s will – an example for all disciples to follow.

Questions for consideration:

“The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced.
“The Kingdom of God is near!
Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”

– Mark 1:15

  • In light of current events in the news, do you believe that “The Kingdom of God is near?” Please explain.
  • What sins of unbelief are in need of your repentance? What would it mean for you to turn away from them and believe “the Good News?” Please explain.

“Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”
Mark 1:17

  • When did you first decide to follow Jesus? What did it mean to you? Please explain. If you are not sure, please follow this link – PeaceWithGod.net.
  • At the time, did you consider that it might include telling others about Jesus? How about now? Please explain.
  • At the time, did you consider that it might include rejection or suffering? How about now? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

Prayer for Christians in the midst of persecution:

Heavenly Father: I pray especially for Christians suffering from the effects of the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka. Meet them in their deepest sorrow and comfort them. Strengthen them in faith that they may continue to follow you, and empower them with your Spirit to respond in love to the evil shown by their persecutors – that doors will open for these believers to share the Good News of the Kingdom. I ask this in Jesus’ name, who lives and reigns with you in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father: As I begin reading through the Gospel of Mark, help me to keep Easter Sunday in mind – that I might reject all unbelief, and trust the Good News of your Kingdom; that I might seek and find evidence of your Kingdom in my everyday life; that I may happily share the Good News with others; and that I may be willing to bear the consequences, come what may. I ask this in Jesus’ name, my Savior and Lord. Amen
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“Is He Worthy?” – Chris Tomlin

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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