After Pentecost| Wednesday – 03 Aug 2022: Psalm 127; Ecclesiastes 12:1-8, 13-14; Luke 12:22-31 ~ Seek God’s Kingdom above all else!

After Pentecost| Wednesday – 03 Aug 2022

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

Opening:

Almighty and merciful God,
it is only by your grace that your faithful people
offer you true and laudable service:
Grant that we may run without stumbling
to obtain your heavenly promises;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,
and he will give you everything you need.”
(Luke 12:31)

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Psalms Reading: Psalm 127(The Lord Will Fight for Us)
Cathedral Church of the Advent

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OT Reading: Ecclesiastes 12:1-8, 13-14 (NLT)

12:1 Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky. Remember him before your legs—the guards of your house—start to tremble; and before your shoulders—the strong men—stoop. Remember him before your teeth—your few remaining servants—stop grinding; and before your eyes—the women looking through the windows—see dimly.

Remember him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Now you rise at the first chirping of the birds, but then all their sounds will grow faint.

Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom, and you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper, and the caperberry no longer inspires sexual desire. Remember him before you near the grave, your everlasting home, when the mourners will weep at your funeral.

Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.

“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless.”

12:13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.

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Remember Your CreatorPaul M Harvey

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NT Reading: Luke 12:22-31 (NLT)

Teaching about Money and Possessions

12:22 Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

“Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.

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Seek First // A Table Full Of Strangers // Jason Upton

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Prayer: ACNA | BCP2019

+ 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.

+ O God, without whose beauty and goodness our souls are unfed, without whose truth our reason withers: Consecrate our lives to your will, giving us such purity of heart, such depth of faith, and such steadfastness of purpose, that in time we may come to think your own thoughts after you; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

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.

Closing: FaithandWorship.com | John Birch

May the love of the Father,
the tenderness of the Son,
and the presence of the Spirit,
gladden your heart
and bring peace to your soul,
this day and all days, Amen.

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

Lent | Ash Wednesday 02 March 2022: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Ps 103; 2 Cor 5:20—6:10; Matt 6:1-6, 16-21 ~ Practice your piety secretly before God.

Lent | Ash Wednesday 02 March 2022

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

Opening:

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made,
and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and
make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting
our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of
you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

“Whenever you pray,
go into your room and shut the door
and pray to your Father who is in secret;
and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
(Mathew 6:6)

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This I Believe (The Creed) – Hillsong Worship
Thanks to our creative team in Hillsong Kiev for making this lyric video.

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OT Reading: Joel 2:1-2,12-17(NLT)

Locusts Invade like an Army

2:1 Sound the trumpet in Jerusalem!
Raise the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let everyone tremble in fear
because the day of the Lord is upon us.
It is a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of thick clouds and deep blackness.
Suddenly, like dawn spreading across the mountains,
a great and mighty army appears.
Nothing like it has been seen before
or will ever be seen again.

A Call to Repentance

2:12 That is why the Lord says,
“Turn to me now, while there is time.
Give me your hearts.
Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
Don’t tear your clothing in your grief,
but tear your hearts instead.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He is eager to relent and not punish.
Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve,
sending you a blessing instead of this curse.
Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine
to the Lord your God as before.

 Blow the ram’s horn in Jerusalem!
Announce a time of fasting;
call the people together
for a solemn meeting.
Gather all the people—
the elders, the children, and even the babies.
Call the bridegroom from his quarters
and the bride from her private room.
Let the priests, who minister in the Lord’s presence,
stand and weep between the entry room to the Temple and the altar.
Let them pray, “Spare your people, Lord!
Don’t let your special possession become an object of mockery.
Don’t let them become a joke for unbelieving foreigners who say,
‘Has the God of Israel left them?’”

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Psalms: Psalm 103 Bless the Lord (StateWide Youth Service)
SlavicCenter Tacoma

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NT Reading: 2 Cor 5:20—6:10 (NLT)

5:20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

 As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says,

“At just the right time, I heard you.
On the day of salvation, I helped you.”

Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.

Paul’s Hardships

5:3 We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry.In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.

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Back to GodReba McEntire ft Lauren Daigle

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Gospel Reading: Matt 6:1-6, 16-21 (NLT)

Teaching about Giving to the Needy

6:1 “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Teaching about Prayer and Fasting

6:5 “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

6:16 “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Teaching about Money and Possessions

6:19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

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Ashes to AshesDan Schutte
OCPmusic

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Prayer: ACNA | BCP2019

Confession of Sin

Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against you.

+ For all our unfaithfulness and disobedience; for the pride, vanity, and hypocrisy of our lives;
Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against you.

+ For our self-pity and impatience, and our envy of those we think more fortunate than ourselves;
Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against you.

+ For our unrighteous anger, bitterness, and resentment; for all lies, gossip, and slander against our neighbors;
Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against you.

+ For our sexual impurity, our exploitation of other people, and our failure to give of ourselves in love;
Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against you.

+ For our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our intemperate pursuit of worldly goods and comforts;
Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against you.

+ For our dishonesty in daily life and work, our ingratitude for your gifts, and our failure to heed your call.
Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against you.

+ For our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty;
Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against you.

+ For our wastefulness and misuse of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us;
Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against you.

+ For all false judgments, for prejudice and contempt of others, and for all uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors;
Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against you.

+ For our negligence in prayer and worship; for our presumption and abuse of your means of grace;
Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against you.

+ For seeking the praise of others rather than the approval of God;
Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against you.

+ For our failure to commend the faith that is in us;
Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against you.

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.

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Closing: faithandworship.com  / John Birch

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

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

Wednesday Morning: 20 Nov 2019 – Luke 11:37-13:9 ~ Jesus causes division!

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 11:37-13:9 (NLT)

Jesus Criticizes the Religious Leaders

As Jesus was speaking, one of the Pharisees invited him home for a meal. So he went in and took his place at the table. His host was amazed to see that he sat down to eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony required by Jewish custom. Then the Lord said to him, “You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and wickedness! Fools! Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside? So clean the inside by giving gifts to the poor, and you will be clean all over.

“What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.

“What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you love to sit in the seats of honor in the synagogues and receive respectful greetings as you walk in the marketplaces. Yes, what sorrow awaits you! For you are like hidden graves in a field. People walk over them without knowing the corruption they are stepping on.”

“Teacher,” said an expert in religious law, “you have insulted us, too, in what you just said.”

“Yes,” said Jesus, “what sorrow also awaits you experts in religious law! For you crush people with unbearable religious demands, and you never lift a finger to ease the burden. What sorrow awaits you! For you build monuments for the prophets your own ancestors killed long ago. But in fact, you stand as witnesses who agree with what your ancestors did. They killed the prophets, and you join in their crime by building the monuments! This is what God in his wisdom said about you: ‘I will send prophets and apostles to them, but they will kill some and persecute the others.’

“As a result, this generation will be held responsible for the murder of all God’s prophets from the creation of the world— from the murder of Abel to the murder of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, it will certainly be charged against this generation.

“What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don’t enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering.”

As Jesus was leaving, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees became hostile and tried to provoke him with many questions. They wanted to trap him into saying something they could use against him.

A Warning against Hypocrisy

Meanwhile, the crowds grew until thousands were milling about and stepping on each other. Jesus turned first to his disciples and warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees—their hypocrisy. The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!

“Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear.

“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

“I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels. Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

“And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.”

Parable of the Rich Fool

Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”

Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”

Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’

“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

Teaching about Money and Possessions

Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

“Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.

“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

“Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

Be Ready for the Lord’s Coming

“Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.

“Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”

Peter asked, “Lord, is that illustration just for us or for everyone?”

And the Lord replied, “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But what if the servant thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful.

“And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.

Jesus Causes Division

“I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against.

‘Father will be divided against son and son against father;
mother against daughter and daughter against mother;
and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right. When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is. You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times.

“Why can’t you decide for yourselves what is right? When you are on the way to court with your accuser, try to settle the matter before you get there. Otherwise, your accuser may drag you before the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, who will throw you into prison. And if that happens, you won’t be free again until you have paid the very last penny.”

A Call to Repentance

About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”

Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed.Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’

“The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”
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Morning Reflection:

Jesus causes division!

I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning!
Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth?

No, I have come to divide people against each other!
– Luke 12:49,51 –

The idea that Jesus brings division instead of peace seems foreign to the Good News of the Kingdom. And yet, there it is – Jesus warns His disciples us of the coming purification of God’s people and the judgement of all people when He returns again in glory.

Jesus earthly ministry began the process of division -even within families. Today’s reading is laced with divisions that Jesus causes –

  • religious leaders who practice an outward form of piety but are corrupt inside
  • religious leaders who keep minuscule laws but neglect justice and the love of God
  • religious leaders who demand respect but place unbearable burdens on people
  • religious hypocrisy that may be hidden now, but will be revealed later in its entirety
  • those who fear worldly authorities, from those who fear fear God
  • those who acknowledge Jesus publicly on earth, from those who deny Him
  • those who are devoted to accumulating wealth, from those who are devoted to a relationship with God
  • those who worry like worldly unbelievers, from those who trust God to supply their needs
  • those who are unprepared for Jesus’ return, from those who are wisely ready and waiting
  • those who willfully ignore what God wants, from those who obey God as best they know how

These are only some of the divisions that Jesus causes within families and throughout the world – turning one person against another – all the while purifying and preparing God’s people for the final judgement when Jesus returns. Jesus divides people based on their response to Him and His teaching.

Questions for consideration

  • How do you reconcile Jesus the “Prince of Peace” with Jesus the divider? Please explain.
  • Have you experienced any of the divisions listed above? What were the consequences? Please explain.
  • Which of the divisions listed above best represents where you are now in your life? Please explain.
  • Are you assured of vindication when Jesus returns? Or, do you need to repent of something and turn to God for forgiveness and life-change? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: – Send the fire! (William Booth 1894)

Thou Christ of burning, cleansing flame, Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Thy blood-bought gift today we claim, Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Look down and see this waiting host, Give us the promised Holy Ghost;
We want another Pentecost, Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

God of Elijah, hear our cry: Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To make us fit to live or die, Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To burn up every trace of sin, To bring the light and glory in,
The revolution now begin, Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

’Tis fire we want, for fire we plead, Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
The fire will meet our every need, Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
For strength to ever do the right, For grace to conquer in the fight,
For pow’r to walk the world in white, Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

To make our weak hearts strong and brave, Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To live a dying world to save, Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Oh, see us on Thy altar lay Our lives, our all, this very day;
To crown the off’ring now we pray, Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

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“Send the Fire” – Lindell Cooley


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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

Friday Morning: 23 Aug 2019 – Matthew 6:19-34 ~ Jesus’ teaching on Wealth and Worry.

Friday Morning

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

Opening (A Collect for Endurance – Friday)

Almighty God, whose beloved Son first suffered pain and crucifixion before entering into glory: Mercifully grant that we, walking in his footsteps, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Matthew 6:19-34 (NLT)

The Sermon on the Mount (Continued)

Teaching about Money and Possessions

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

“Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
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Morning Reflection:

Jesus’ teaching on Wealth and Worry.

“Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously,
and he will give you everything you need.”
– Matthew 6:32b-33 –

How much is enough? When does preoccupation with the accumulation of wealth become a diversion from our single-minded pursuit of the Kingdom of God – from trusting God with our lives?

There is nothing wrong with wealth per se. Wise people work hard and plan for the future; they provide for their families; and they give generously to the needy. Jesus’ concern here is the accumulation of wealth (storing up treasures on earth) as a life goal.

+ Foolish people accumulate material goods that are perishable – vulnerable to wear and tear, theft, and the vagaries of world events and markets.The more they have, the more they want, and the more they worry about losing it. But the heart of their problem is trusting in what they own, instead of God.

+ Wise people accumulate spiritual wealth that is imperishable – doesn’t wear out, no one can take it away, and is based on the economy of heaven. The more they seek God, the more content they are, and the more freedom and joy they experience in life. Their hearts are focused on deepening their relationship with God – putting him first in their lives.

The thing that a person values most highly inevitably occupies the center of his or her heart. The heart is the center of the personality, and it controls the intellect, emotions, and will.

Questions for consideration:

  • What are some of your worries? What keeps you up at night worrying? Please explain.
  • Do any of your worries have to do with money? Please explain?
  • How does materialism influence your life? How does it affect your relationship with God? Please explain.
  • What would it take for you to be content with what you have, and live worry free? How would trusting God make that possible? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: For Contentment

Heavenly Father: Thank you for never failing or abandoning your children; and thank you for knowing our needs and providing for them abundantly. Thank you for your loving-kindness and generosity.

Help me to grow in the grace of contentment that I may be grateful for what I have and not worry about what I don’t have. May I be quick to acknowledge that everything I have is a gift from you. Free me from bondage to material comforts, that I may respond in faith to your leading, trusting for your gracious provision in all things.

Heavenly Father: Fill me with awe and wonder at the love you have shown me by sending your Son, Jesus Christ, that I might be adopted into your family. And give me his heart, that I might seek your Kingdom first before all else. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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“Seek First” – Fellowship Music

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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

Morning Reading: Fri, 15 Jun – Luke 11-12 ~ On Prayer, Repentance, Hypocrisy, Possessions and Readiness

Morning Reading

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

Opening – (Northumbria Community)

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

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

Reading: Luke 11-12 (NLT)

Teaching about Prayer

Luke 11 (NLT) – Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:

  • “Father, may your name be kept holy.
  • May your Kingdom come soon.
  • Give us each day the food we need,
  • and forgive us our sins,
  • as we forgive those who sin against us.
  • And don’t let us yield to temptation.”

Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

Jesus and the Prince of Demons

One day Jesus cast out a demon from a man who couldn’t speak, and when the demon was gone, the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed, but some of them said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons.” Others, trying to test Jesus, demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.

He knew their thoughts, so he said, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A family splintered by feuding will fall apart. You say I am empowered by Satan. But if Satan is divided and fighting against himself, how can his kingdom survive? And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said.

But if I am casting out demons by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. For when a strong man is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe—until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings.

“Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.

“When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”

As he was speaking, a woman in the crowd called out, “God bless your mother—the womb from which you came, and the breasts that nursed you!”

Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”

The Sign of Jonah

As the crowd pressed in on Jesus, he said, “This evil generation keeps asking me to show them a miraculous sign. But the only sign I will give them is the sign of Jonah. What happened to him was a sign to the people of Nineveh that God had sent him. What happens to the Son of Man will be a sign to these people that he was sent by God.

“The queen of Sheba will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here—but you refuse to listen. The people of Nineveh will also stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent.

Receiving the Light

“No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.

“Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”

Jesus Criticizes the Religious Leaders

As Jesus was speaking, one of the Pharisees invited him home for a meal. So he went in and took his place at the table. His host was amazed to see that he sat down to eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony required by Jewish custom. Then the Lord said to him, “You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and wickedness! Fools! Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside? So clean the inside by giving gifts to the poor, and you will be clean all over.

  • “What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.
  • “What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you love to sit in the seats of honor in the synagogues and receive respectful greetings as you walk in the marketplaces.
  • Yes, what sorrow awaits you! For you are like hidden graves in a field. People walk over them without knowing the corruption they are stepping on.”

“Teacher,” said an expert in religious law, “you have insulted us, too, in what you just said.”

  • “Yes,” said Jesus, “what sorrow also awaits you experts in religious law! For you crush people with unbearable religious demands, and you never lift a finger to ease the burden.
  • What sorrow awaits you! For you build monuments for the prophets your own ancestors killed long ago. But in fact, you stand as witnesses who agree with what your ancestors did. They killed the prophets, and you join in their crime by building the monuments! This is what God in his wisdom said about you: ‘I will send prophets and apostles to them, but they will kill some and persecute the others.’

“As a result, this generation will be held responsible for the murder of all God’s prophets from the creation of the world—from the murder of Abel to the murder of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, it will certainly be charged against this generation.

  • “What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don’t enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering.”

As Jesus was leaving, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees became hostile and tried to provoke him with many questions. They wanted to trap him into saying something they could use against him.

A Warning against Hypocrisy

Luke 12 (NLT) – Meanwhile, the crowds grew until thousands were milling about and stepping on each other. Jesus turned first to his disciples and warned them, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees—their hypocrisy. The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!

“Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear.

“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

“I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels. Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

“And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.”

Parable of the Rich Fool

Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”

Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”

Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’

“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

Teaching about Money and Possessions

Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?

“Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.

“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

“Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

Be Ready for the Lord’s Coming

“Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn. But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.

“Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”

Peter asked, “Lord, is that illustration just for us or for everyone?”

And the Lord replied, “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But what if the servant thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful.

“And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.

Jesus Causes Division

“I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against.

  • ‘Father will be divided against son
  • and son against father;
  • mother against daughter
  • and daughter against mother;
  • and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law
  • and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’”

Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right. When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is. You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times.

“Why can’t you decide for yourselves what is right? When you are on the way to court with your accuser, try to settle the matter before you get there. Otherwise, your accuser may drag you before the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, who will throw you into prison. And if that happens, you won’t be free again until you have paid the very last penny.”
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“Kingdom Come” – Covenant Worship


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Blessing – (Northumbrian Community)

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
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+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!