Thursday Morning, 07 Nov 2019 – Colossians 2:16-23 ~ The reality of Christ.

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 – Colossians 2:16-23(NLT)

So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.

You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.
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Morning Reflection:

The reality of Christ.

Christ, the head of the body,
holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments,
and it grows as God nourishes it.”
– Colossians 2:19 –

In today’s reading, Paul continues his theme of the supremacy and all-sufficiency of Christ. He is head over all things, including His body, the church.

Paul reminds his readers of the reality of Christ in response to false teachers who were attempting to add something to the finished work of Christ on.

In general, their false teaching took three forms –

  1. Legalism – relying on keeping rules and regulations, over union with God in Christ.
  2. Mysticism – emphasizing personal visionary experiences, over revelation from God in Christ.
  3. Asceticism – relying on self-denial to tame the flesh, over the power of God in Christ.

Paul’s point is that believers already have everything we ever will need in the person and work of Jesus Christ. There’s nothing we can add to that reality. We grow in faith as God nourishes our relationship with Christ.

Questions for consideration: It’s easy for believers to fall into the traps of false teachers.

  • The trap of legalism – have you found yourself trying to obey certain rules and regulations in order please God? Please explain.
  • The trap of mysticism – have you found yourself seeking visions or spiritual revelations to discover hidden truths about God? Please explain.
  • the trap of asceticism – have you tried exercising self-denial as a way of taming the flesh? Please explain.
  • Do you believe that you have everything you need in Jesus Christ in order to grow in faith? How does that affect how you live? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer – For Satisfaction in Christ (Julian of Norwich)

O God, of your goodness, give me yourself, for you are enough for me.
I can ask for nothing less that is completely to your honor,
and if I do ask anything less, I shall always be in want.
Only in you I have all. Amen.

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Still You Satisfy | Forever Be Sure

Longing, my soul was longing for a drink from some cool spring,
Hoping to quench the burning of the thirst I felt within.

Seeking, my soul was seeking till my strength was almost gone.
Feeding, on pleasure feeding, only still to hunger on.

Hallelujah, hallelujah; I have found the One my soul has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longing and through His blood I now am saved!

Calling, still the world is calling with a tempting glow and frill.
Yearning, still I’m often yearning with desire unfulfilled.

Thirsting, Lord, when I am thirsting lead me to the Fount from which at first I drew.
Gently, take what’s dry and empty; fill my craving, Lord, with You!

Hallelujah, hallelujah; precious promise that is mine to own:
Jesus satisfies the thirsty and overflows the hungry soul!
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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, 31 Oct 2019 – Matthew 27:27-44 ~ The King is crucified.

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 27:27-44 (NLT)

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.

The Crucifixion

Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). The soldiers gave Jesus wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it.

After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.

The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”

The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way.
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Morning Reflection:

The King is crucified.

A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him.
It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”

– Matthew 27:37 –

Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world.

The Prophet Isaiah speaks of our Lord under the same image: “He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearers” and all this because “He was wounded for our iniquities, He was bruised for our sins; … by His bruises we are healed”.

This is Jesus Christ, who when darkness, sin, guilt and misery had overspread the earth, came down from Heaven, took our nature upon Him, and shed His precious blood upon the Cross for all men.

This is Jesus – the King of the Jews

Questions for consideration:

  • When you think of unbelieving people that you know, who comes to mind? How can you bear witness and pray for them? Please explain.
  • When you think of unbelieving nations, are there any in particular that God puts on your heart? How can you bear witness and pray for them? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer – for all unbelieving people and nations, that they will be converted.

O Lord Jesus Christ, O King of the whole world, O Hope and Expectation of all nations, O You who hast bought all men for Your own at the price of Your most precious blood, look down in pity upon all people, tribes and nations who are spread over the wide earth, and impart to them the knowledge of Your saving truth.

Remember, O Lord, Your own most bitter sufferings of soul and body in Your betrayal, Your passion and Your crucifixion, and have mercy upon their souls.We pray especially for the Jewish people, that they may acknowledge You as their longed-for Messianic King… to the glory of God their Father. Amen.

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ET SHEM YESHUA..Holy Name of Yeshua – Birgitta Veksler

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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

Thursday Morning, 17 Oct 2019 – Matthew 23:1-22 ~ Blind guides!

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 23:1-22 (NLT)

Jesus Criticizes the Religious Leaders

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.

“Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’

“Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your Father. And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!

“Blind guides! What sorrow awaits you! For you say that it means nothing to swear ‘by God’s Temple,’ but that it is binding to swear ‘by the gold in the Temple.’ Blind fools! Which is more important—the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred? And you say that to swear ‘by the altar’ is not binding, but to swear ‘by the gifts on the altar’ is binding. How blind! For which is more important—the gift on the altar or the altar that makes the gift sacred? When you swear ‘by the altar,’ you are swearing by it and by everything on it. And when you swear ‘by the Temple,’ you are swearing by it and by God, who lives in it. And when you swear ‘by heaven,’ you are swearing by the throne of God and by God, who sits on the throne.
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Morning Reflection:

Blind guides!

“What sorrow awaits you!” – Matthew 23:16 –

In today’s reading Jesus confronts the Pharisees – arbiters of religious observance- as hypocrites and blind guides. The irony of it all was In their attempt to honor the Word of God, they were actually farthest from God.

Hypocrites – they presumed to take on Moses’ teaching authority, however…

  • They don’t practice what they teach
  • They crush people with unbearable demands
  • They’re all show, self righteous attention seekers

Blind guides

  • They rejected the Kingdom of heaven
  • They rejected Jesus’ kingdom authority
  • They did more harm than good in people’s lives
  • They misunderstood and misapplied Scripture
  • They led people to hell, over the cliff of legalism

Instead of serving people, they used their leadership positions to control them.
Jesus, by way of contrast in Matthew 20:27-29 (NLT).

“Whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Questions for consideration:

  • How would you assess the leaders of your faith community? Do they practice what the teach? Do they make excessive demands on you? Do they draw attention to themselves? Please explain.
  • How would you assess your faith community on a scale of 1 to 10 if legalistic were 1 and gracious were 10? Please explain.
  • Do you know anyone who has been harmed by the misunderstanding and misapplication of scripture? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer – For Inner Renewal Through The Word of God

Gracious God and most merciful Father, you have granted us the rich and precious jewel of your holy Word: Assist us with your Spirit, that the same Word may be written in our hearts to our everlasting comfort, to reform us, to renew us according to your own image, to build us up and edify us into the perfect dwelling place of your Christ, sanctifying and increasing in us all heavenly virtues; grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

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“Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace)” – Hillsong Worship (Germany)

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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