Lent | Saturday 09 April 2022: Psalm 31:9-16; Leviticus 23:1-8; Luke 22:1-13 ~ Passover was approaching.

Lent | Saturday 09 April 2022

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

Opening:

Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills
and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what
you command and desire what you promise; that, among the
swift and varied changes of this world, our hearts may surely
there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus
Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Festival of Unleavened Bread,
which is also called Passover, was approaching.
The leading priests and teachers of religious law
were plotting how to kill Jesus,
but they were afraid of the people’s reaction.
(Luke 22:1-2)

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Psalms: Psalm 31Poor Bishop Hooper

oh god be my rock
oh god be my fortress

oh god you are my rock
oh god you are my fortress
oh god you are my rock
oh god you are safe place

you lavish love upon the ones who know you
before the watching world and they will come to
see just how great and wonderful your goodness is

you hide them in the shelter of your presence
safe from everyone who comes against them
so far from accusing tongues and wicked schemes of men

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OT Reading: Leviticus 23:1-8 (NLT)

The Appointed Festivals

23:1 The Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, which you are to proclaim as official days for holy assembly.

“You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of complete rest, an official day for holy assembly. It is the Lord’s Sabbath day, and it must be observed wherever you live.

“In addition to the Sabbath, these are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the official days for holy assembly that are to be celebrated at their proper times each year.

Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread

23:5 “The Lord’s Passover begins at sundown on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the next day, the fifteenth day of the month, you must begin celebrating the Festival of Unleavened Bread. This festival to the Lord continues for seven days, and during that time the bread you eat must be made without yeast. On the first day of the festival, all the people must stop their ordinary work and observe an official day for holy assembly. For seven days you must present special gifts to the Lord. On the seventh day the people must again stop all their ordinary work to observe an official day for holy assembly.”

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The Passover SongSean Carter and Caroline Cobb
Trinity Fellowship

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NT Reading: Luke 22:1-13 (NLT)

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

22:1 The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is also called Passover, was approaching. The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction.

Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren’t around.

The Last Supper

22:7 Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread arrived, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John ahead and said, “Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together.”

“Where do you want us to prepare it?” they asked him.

He replied, “As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.” They went off to the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there.

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CommunionBryan McCleery
music meets heaven

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Prayer: ACNA | BCP2019

+ Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the Cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

+ O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light rises up in darkness for the godly: Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what you would have us  do, that the Spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices; that in your light we may see light, and in your straight path we may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Closing:

Cover us with your blood,
Lord Jesus,
on our journey home.

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

Lent | Wednesday 09 March 2022: Psalm 17; Job 1:1-22; Luke 21:34-22:6 ~ Watch out for Satan’s traps!

Lent | Wednesday 09 March 2022

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

Opening:

Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be
tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted
by many temptations, and, as you know the weaknesses of each
of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ
your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

“Watch out!
Don’t let your hearts be dulled
by carousing and drunkenness,
and by the worries of this life.
Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap.”
(Luke 21:34-35a)

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Psalms: Psalm 17Keep Me As The Apple Of Your Eye
Karl Kohlhase

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OT Reading: Job 1:1-22 (NLT)

1:1 There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil. He had seven sons and three daughters. He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area.

Job’s sons would take turns preparing feasts in their homes, and they would also invite their three sisters to celebrate with them. When these celebrations ended—sometimes after several days—Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice.

Job’s First Test

1:6 One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. “Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan.

Satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.”

Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.”

Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!”

“All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence.

One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger arrived at Job’s home with this news: “Your oxen were plowing, with the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided us. They stole all the animals and killed all the farmhands. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”

While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all the shepherds. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”

While he was still speaking, a third messenger arrived with this news: “Three bands of Chaldean raiders have stolen your camels and killed your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”

While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home. Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”

Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said,

“I came naked from my mother’s womb,
and I will be naked when I leave.
The Lord gave me what I had,
and the Lord has taken it away.
Praise the name of the Lord!”

In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.

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Blessed Be Your Name | Maranatha! Music

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NT Reading: Luke 21:34-22:6 (NLT)

21:34 “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”

Every day Jesus went to the Temple to teach, and each evening he returned to spend the night on the Mount of Olives. The crowds gathered at the Temple early each morning to hear him.

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

21:22 The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is also called Passover, was approaching. The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction.

Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren’t around.

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Awake My Soul (Official Lyric Video) – Hillsong Worship

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Prayer: ACNA | BCP2019

+ Show favor to your people, O Lord, who turn to you in weeping, fasting, and prayer. For you are a merciful God, full of compassion, long-suffering, and abounding in steadfast love. You spare when we deserve punishment, and in your wrath you remember mercy. Spare your people, good Lord, spare us; in the multitude of your mercies, look upon us and forgive us; through the merits and mediation of your blessed Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.
(1 Timothy 1:15)

+ O Lord our God, grant us grace to desire you with our whole heart: that desiring you, we may seek you; and that seeking you, we may find you; and that finding you, we may love you; and that loving you, we may hate those sins from which you have delivered us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Closing: faith and worship | John Birch

May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love.

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

Wednesday in Holy Week, 08 April 2020 – Isa 50:4-9, Psa 69:6-14, Heb 9:11-28, Mat 26: 1-5, 14-25 ~ Jesus, the perfect sacrifice.

Wednesday in Holy Week, 08 April 2020

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

Opening:

Assist us mercifully with your grace, Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the meditation of those mighty acts by which you have promised us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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Anglican Chant: Psalm 69 (Save Me, O God) — Choir of Gloucester Cathedral

Save me, O God; for the waters are come in, even unto my soul.I stick fast in the deep mire, where no ground is; I am come into deep waters, so that the floods run over me. I am weary of crying; my throat is dry; my sight faileth me for waiting so long upon my God.

They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; they that are mine enemies, and would destroy me guiltless, are mighty. I paid them the things that I never took.

God, thou knowest my simpleness, and my faults are not hid from thee. Let not them that trust in thee, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed for my cause; let not those that seek thee be confounded through me, O Lord God of Israel.

And why? for thy sake have I suffered reproof; shame hath covered my face. I am become a stranger unto my brethren, even an alien unto my mother’s children. For the zeal of thine house hath even eaten me; and the rebukes of them that rebuked thee are fallen upon me.

I wept, and chastened myself with fasting, and that was turned to my reproof.I put on sackcloth also, and they jested upon me. They that sit in the gate speak against me, and the drunkards make songs upon me.

But, LORD, I make my prayer unto thee in an acceptable time. Hear me, O God, in the multitude of thy mercy, even in the truth of thy salvation: take me out of the mire, that I sink not; O let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. Let not the water-flood drown me, neither let the deep swallow me up; and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me. Hear me, O LORD, for thy loving-kindness is comfortable; turn thee unto me according to the multitude of thy mercies. And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: O haste thee, and hear me. Draw nigh unto my soul, and save it; O deliver me, because of mine enemies.

Thou hast known my reproach, my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all in thy sight. Reproach hath broken my heart; I am full of heaviness: I looked for some to have pity on me, but there was no man, neither found I any to comfort me. They gave me gall to eat; and when I was thirsty they gave me vinegar to drink.

Let their table be made a snare to take themselves withal; and let the things that should have been for their wealth be unto them an occasion of falling. Let their eyes be blinded, that they see not; and ever bow thou down their backs.Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful displeasure take hold of them. Let their habitation be void, and no man to dwell in their tents.

For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk how they may vex them whom thou hast wounded. Let them fall from one wickedness to another, and not come into thy righteousness. Let them be wiped out of the book of the living, and not be written among the righteous.

As for me, when I am poor and in heaviness, thy help, O God, shall lift me up. I will praise the Name of God with a song, and magnify it with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than a bullock that hath horns and hoofs.

The humble shall consider this, and be glad: seek ye after God, and your soul shall live. For the LORD heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners. Let heaven and earth praise him: the sea, and all that moveth therein.

For God will save Sion, and build the cities of Judah, that men may dwell there, and have it in possession.The posterity also of his servants shall inherit it; and they that love his Name shall dwell therein.

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A Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 26:1-5, 14-25 (NLT)

The Plot to Kill Jesus

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, Passover begins in two days, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”

At that same time the leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest, plotting how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.”
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Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.

The Last Supper

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?”

“As you go into the city,” he told them, “you will see a certain man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover meal there.

When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the Twelve. While they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”

Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?”

He replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”

Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?”

And Jesus told him, “You have said it.”
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A Reading from the Old Testament: Isaiah 50:4-9 (NLT)

The Lord’s Obedient Servant

The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom,
so that I know how to comfort the weary.
Morning by morning he wakens me
and opens my understanding to his will.
The Sovereign Lord has spoken to me,
and I have listened.
I have not rebelled or turned away.
I offered my back to those who beat me
and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard.
I did not hide my face
from mockery and spitting.

Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore, I have set my face like a stone,
determined to do his will.
And I know that I will not be put to shame.
He who gives me justice is near.
Who will dare to bring charges against me now?
Where are my accusers?
Let them appear!
See, the Sovereign Lord is on my side!
Who will declare me guilty?
All my enemies will be destroyed
like old clothes that have been eaten by moths!
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A Reading from the Epistles: Hebrews 9:11-28 (NLT)

Christ Is the Perfect Sacrifice

So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.

Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity.Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.

Now when someone leaves a wi it is necessary to prove that the person who made it is dead. The will goes into effect only after the person’s death. While the person who made it is still alive, the will cannot be put into effect.

That is why even the first covenant was put into effect with the blood of an animal. For after Moses had read each of God’s commandments to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, and sprinkled both the book of God’s law and all the people, using hyssop branches and scarlet wool. Then he said, “This blood confirms the covenant God has made with you.” And in the same way, he sprinkled blood on the Tabernacle and on everything used for worship. In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.

That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals.

For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice.

And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.
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Intercession:

Sovereign God, we put our trust in You: come quickly and save us –

+ Save all who are sinking, drowning in the flood waters this worldwide pandemic…
+ Save all who are crying out to You, waiting for You to rescue them….
+ Save all whose enemies are attempting to use this pandemic to destroy them….
+ Save all who are repenting of their foolish sins and rebellion against You….
+ Save all who trust and worship You that they might not be embarrassment to You….
+ Save all who are scorned by their families and friends because of their trust in You….

Sovereign God, we pray to You: so when the time is right answer us and help us with Your wonderful love. Meanwhile we will praise You with songs and thankful hearts.
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Nothing But The Blood – (Virtual Choir #1)

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Closing: Hebrews 11:28 (NLT)

Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.

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

Monday Morning, 25 Nov 2019, Luke 20:1-22:6 ~ Watch out, stand firm!

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 – Luke 20:1-22:6 (NLT)

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

One day as Jesus was teaching the people and preaching the Good News in the Temple, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?”

“Let me ask you a question first,” he replied. “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?”

They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. But if we say it was merely human, the people will stone us because they are convinced John was a prophet.” So they finally replied that they didn’t know.

And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Parable of the Evil Farmers

Now Jesus turned to the people again and told them this story: “A man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and moved to another country to live for several years. At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers attacked the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. So the owner sent another servant, but they also insulted him, beat him up, and sent him away empty-handed. A third man was sent, and they wounded him and chased him away.

“‘What will I do?’ the owner asked himself. ‘I know! I’ll send my cherished son. Surely they will respect him.’

“But when the tenant farmers saw his son, they said to each other, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ So they dragged him out of the vineyard and murdered him.

“What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do to them?” Jesus asked. “I’ll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others.”

“How terrible that such a thing should ever happen,” his listeners protested.

Jesus looked at them and said, “Then what does this Scripture mean?

‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’
Everyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.”

The teachers of religious law and the leading priests wanted to arrest Jesus immediately because they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the people’s reaction.

Taxes for Caesar

Watching for their opportunity, the leaders sent spies pretending to be honest men. They tried to get Jesus to say something that could be reported to the Roman governor so he would arrest Jesus. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you speak and teach what is right and are not influenced by what others think. You teach the way of God truthfully. Now tell us—is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

He saw through their trickery and said, “Show me a Roman coin. Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

“Well then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”

So they failed to trap him by what he said in front of the people. Instead, they were amazed by his answer, and they became silent.

Discussion about Resurrection

Then Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. They posed this question: “Teacher, Moses gave us a law that if a man dies, leaving a wife but no children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name. Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children. So the second brother married the widow, but he also died. Then the third brother married her. This continued with all seven of them, who died without children. Finally, the woman also died. So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her!”

Jesus replied, “Marriage is for people here on earth. But in the age to come, those worthy of being raised from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage. And they will never die again. In this respect they will be like angels. They are children of God and children of the resurrection.

“But now, as to whether the dead will be raised—even Moses proved this when he wrote about the burning bush. Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, he referred to the Lord as ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead, for they are all alive to him.”

“Well said, Teacher!” remarked some of the teachers of religious law who were standing there. And then no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Whose Son Is the Messiah?

Then Jesus presented them with a question. “Why is it,” he asked, “that the Messiah is said to be the son of David? For David himself wrote in the book of Psalms:

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
until I humble your enemies,
making them a footstool under your feet.’

Since David called the Messiah ‘Lord,’ how can the Messiah be his son?”

Then, with the crowds listening, he turned to his disciples and said, “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.”

The Widow’s Offering

While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box.Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”

Jesus Speaks about the Future

Some of his disciples began talking about the majestic stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said, “The time is coming when all these things will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”

“Teacher,” they asked, “when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?”

He replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and saying, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t believe them. And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place first, but the end won’t follow immediately.” Then he added, “Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven.

“But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you. And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But not a hair of your head will perish! By standing firm, you will win your souls.

“And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that the time of its destruction has arrived. Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. Those in Jerusalem must get out, and those out in the country should not return to the city. For those will be days of God’s vengeance, and the prophetic words of the Scriptures will be fulfilled. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. For there will be disaster in the land and great anger against this people. They will be killed by the sword or sent away as captives to all the nations of the world. And Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the period of the Gentiles comes to an end.

“And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”

Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”

Every day Jesus went to the Temple to teach, and each evening he returned to spend the night on the Mount of Olives. The crowds gathered at the Temple early each morning to hear him.

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is also called Passover, was approaching. The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction.

Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren’t around.
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Morning Reflection:

Watch out, stand firm!

Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. – (Luke 21;33)
Watch out! Don’t let that day catch you unaware. – (Luke 21:34)
By standing firm, you will win your souls.– (Luke 21:19)

In today’s reading, the religious leaders challenge Jesus’ authority; they send out liars and deceivers to entrap him; and they pose theological hypotheticals they don’t believe themselves; and behind the scenes they plot to kill him. Finally they find an insider to betray him.

But Jesus’ word to his disciples, and to us, is “watch out!” What they are doing to me, they will do to you. So what should we be on the lookout for?

  • false teachers who claim to come in Jesus’ name
  • nations in turmoil with famines, plagues, and wars
  • persecution and hatred by religious and civil authorities
  • betrayal by those closest to us, family and friends
  • terror that climate changes will destroy the earth

So where is the Good News in today’s reading?

  • Jesus’ words are sure and true, now and forever
  • Jesus’ warnings are intended to prepare us for what’s coming
  • Jesus’ Spirit will give us power and wisdom to refute opposition
  • Jesus’ return will enable us to stand firm and win our souls

“So,when all these things begin to happen,stand and look up,
for your salvation is near!”

(Luke 21:28)

Questions for consideration:

  • Do you live as though Jesus’ return is imminent? Why / why not? Please explain.
  • What sort of things tend to lull you into apathy in regard to Jesus’ return? Please explain.
  • What changes can you make to prepare yourself for Jesus’ imminent return? Please explain.
  • Have you ever been betrayed by someone close to you because of your faith? Please explain.
  • What effect do climate change alarmists have on your thinking? Do you believe that the end is near? Please explain.
  • Where do you need God’s help to stand firm in your faith today? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: For Christians suffering persecution

Oh Lord our God, we hunger and thirst after You, diligently seeking You, even though there are those around us who don’t comprehend Your great power, causing them to oppose us. They mock, they laugh, they degrade and they persecute us, Your children. But You are a just God and You will never leave us nor forsake us in these difficult times.

Oh Lord our God, correct those that persecute us. Help them to experience Your love, joy, peace and happiness. But, most of all, allow them to feel Your Holy presence and turn from their wicked ways. May they join the body of Christ, so that they, one day, can also dine at Your Holy table in Your mighty kingdom.

Oh Lord our God, as they persecute and belittle us, give us strength to rise above it and become mighty soldiers in the army of Christ. Help us to not take offense by it, and allow us to baffle them with kindness, love and peace so that they will one day seek to know You. We pray that all those who are persecuted will stand up and overcome the world. In Jesus mighty name Amen!
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“Stand Strong” – Hylander Singing Men

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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, 24 Oct 2019 – Matthew 26:1-19 ~ The conspiracy unfolds.

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 26:1-19 (NLT)

The Plot to Kill Jesus

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, Passover begins in two days, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”

At that same time the leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest, plotting how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.”

Jesus Anointed at Bethany

Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head.

The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste!” they said. “It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.”

But Jesus, aware of this, replied, “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.

The Last Supper

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?”

“As you go into the city,” he told them, “you will see a certain man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover meal there.
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Morning Reflection:

The conspiracy unfolds.

At that same time the leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest,
plotting how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him.
– Matthew 26:3-4 –

In today’s reading, Matthew surrounds Jesus with a wide range of characters – each with their own relationship to Jesus, each with their own agenda. Most of them fade from memory, but two will be remembered forever.

  1. The woman who anointed Jesus – “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
  2. Judas who betrayed Jesus – “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.”

But there are several other interesting characters in the background –

  • Simon whom Jesus’ healed of leprosy welcomed Jesus into his home as a gesture of gratitude.
  • The disciples who chided the woman for wasting her resources instead of attending to the needs of the poor.
  • The religious leaders who rejected and secretly plotted against Jesus, careful not to incense the crowd.
  • The crowd, religious in form, but passive concerning Jesus.
  • The man who opened his home for Jesus and the disciples to celebrate the Passover.

Each one of these characters experienced Jesus differently and responded accordingly. but with very different consequences for them and those around them.

Questions for consideration:

  • With whom do you identify in today’s reading? Please explain.
  • Can you identify some of these characters in the contemporary world in which you live? Please explain.
  • Each of these characters respond to Jesus with varying degrees of enthusiasm, both positive and negative. How would you rate their levels of enthusiasm? Please explain.
  • How would you like to be remembered by future believers? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer – A Covenant Prayer – John Wesley

I am no longer my own, but thine.

Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.

Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.

Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which
I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
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“Jesus At The Center” – Darlene Zschech

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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