Saturday, 11 Sep 2021: Psalm 19; Proverbs 21:1-17; Matthew 21:23-32 ~ By faith: believe in Jesus Christ.

Saturday, 11 Sep 2021:

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

Opening:

O Lord God, grant your people grace to withstand the
temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and with pure
hearts and minds to follow you, the only God; through Jesus
Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

“Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you,
the tax collectors and the prostitutes
go into the kingdom of God before you.
For John came to you in the way of righteousness,
and you did not believe him,
but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him.
And even when you saw it,
you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.”
(Matthew 21:31-32)

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Psalms: Psalm 19 – Sons of Korah

The Law of the Lord Is Perfect
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

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OT Reading: Proverbs 21:1-17 (ESV)

21:1  The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;
he turns it wherever he will.

2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the heart.

3 To do righteousness and justice
is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart,
the lamp of the wicked, are sin.

5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.

6 The getting of treasures by a lying tongue
is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death.

7 The violence of the wicked will sweep them away,
because they refuse to do what is just.

8 The way of the guilty is crooked,
but the conduct of the pure is upright.

9 It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.

10 The soul of the wicked desires evil;
his neighbor finds no mercy in his eyes.

11 When a scoffer is punished, the simple becomes wise;
when a wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.

12 The Righteous One observes the house of the wicked;
he throws the wicked down to ruin.

13 Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor
will himself call out and not be answered.

14 A gift in secret averts anger,
and a concealed bribe, strong wrath.

15 When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous
but terror to evildoers.

16 One who wanders from the way of good sense
will rest in the assembly of the dead.

17 Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man;
he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.

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Rejoice // Brad & Rebekah

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NT Reading: Matthew 21:23-32 (ESV)

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

21:23  And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

The Parable of the Two Sons

21:28  “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.

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Big Daddy Weave – Jesus I Believe

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Prayer:

Profession of Faith – The Nicene Creed
[On Jesus Christ]

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only-begotten Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

+ Christ as a light, illumine and guide us. Christ as a shield, overshadow us. Christ under us; Christ over us; Christ beside us on our left and our right. This day be within and without us, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom we speak; in the mouth of each who speaks to us. This day be within and without us, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside us on our left and our right.

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Blessing

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

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

Advent Prayer: 1st Saturday 05 Dec 2020 – Psalm 85; Ezekiel 36:24-28; Mark 11:27-33 ~ Gifted w/ a new heart & spirit.

Advent Prayer: 1st Saturday 05 Dec 2020

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

Opening:

Rend the heavens and come down, O God of all the ages! Rouse us from sleep, deliver us from our heedless ways, and form us into a watchful people, that, at the advent of your Son, he may find us doing what is right, mindful of all you command. Grant this through him whose coming is certain, whose day draws near: your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

“I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.”
Ezekiel 36:26 (ESV)

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Psalm 85: Show Us Your Kindness – Bob Hurd

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Old Testament Reading: Ezekiel 36:24-28 (ESV)

24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

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How Can I Keep From Singing – Audrey Assad

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New Testament Reading: Luke 21:34-38 (ESV)

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

27 And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, 28 and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” 29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” 31 And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 32 But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was a prophet. 33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

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In These Long, Last Days · Sister Sinjin

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Prayer:

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

+ Gracious God: assist me with your Spirit, that your Word may be written in my heart to reform me, to renew me according to your own image, to build me up and edify me into the perfect dwelling place of your Christ, grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

+ Ever-present God: preserve me from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, and grant that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from me the light of your love which is immortal, and which you have manifested unto me in your Son, Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

+ O God of peace,: by the might of your Spirit lift me, I pray, to your presence, where I may be still and know that you are God; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

+ Hasten, O Father, the coming of your kingdom; and grant that I, who now lives by faith, may with joy behold your Son at his coming in glorious majesty; even Jesus Christ, my only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

Blessing

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.

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

Saturday Morning, 12 Oct 2019 – Matthew 21:12-27 ~ Are you a House of Prayer?

Saturday Morning

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

Opening:  (A Collect for Sabbath Rest – Saturday)

Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and set aside a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared to meet you in worship, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading: Matthew 21:12-27 (NLT)

Jesus Clears the Temple

Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”

The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.”

But the leaders were indignant. They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”

“Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’” Then he returned to Bethany, where he stayed overnight.

Jesus Curses the Fig Tree

In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up.

The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?”

Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?”

“I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus 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 us why we didn’t believe John. But if we say it was merely human, we’ll be mobbed because the people believe John was a prophet.” they finally replied, “We don’t know.”

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

Are you a House of Prayer?

‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”
…The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them.

– Matthew 21:13-14 –

Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem was specific to the circumstances that he found there at the time. The religious leaders had allowed the Temple of the Most High God to become a “den of thieves.” They had desecrated holy space that had been consecrated for worship and prayer, by turning it into a market place. But once cleansed, the Temple once again became a place of hope and healing under the authority of Jesus.

Sometimes believers forget who we are, or rather whose we are – we belong to God and our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit through which we must honor God. (1 Cor 6:18-20) And we too, cleansed and forgiven, can become instruments of God’s hope and healing under the authority of Jesus.

Questions for consideration:

  • Step back for a moment and try to view yourself as Jesus might view you – body, mind and spirit. Would you be considered a temple of the Holy Spirit? Why/why not? Please explain.
  • If there is some cleansing/forgiving to do in your life that would make you more serviceable to God? What would it be? Please explain.
  • What would it take for you to become an instrument of God’s hope and healing under the authority of Jesus? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: For the Spirit of Prayer –

O Almighty God, you pour out on all who desire it the spirit of grace and of supplication: Deliver us, when we draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections we may worship you in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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“House of Prayer” – Eddie James

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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

Saturday Morning: 18 May 2019 – Mark 11:15-33 ~ By what authority?

Saturday Morning

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

Opening (A Collect for Sabbath Rest – Saturday)

Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and set aside a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared to meet you in worship, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Mark 11:15-33 (NLT)

Jesus Clears the Temple

When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”

When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching.

That evening Jesus and the disciples left the city.

The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!”

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

Again they entered Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, 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 to do them?”

“I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!”

They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. But do we dare say it was merely human?” For they were afraid of what the people would do, because everyone believed that John was a prophet. So they finally replied, “We don’t know.”

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

By what authority?

“By what authority are you doing all these things?
Who gave you the right to do them?”
– Mark 11:28

The religious leaders ask the key question: “Who gave you the right to do [these things]? What things are they talking about?

  • deliverance from the demonic
  • forgiveness of sins
  • supremacy over Torah and temple
  • speech about God as Father
  • teaching about matters in which God is sovereign

Jesus exercised an authority that was God’s sole prerogative. But their question was not asked in good faith, rather it was another attempt at entrapment.

In regard to Jesus’ authority, note two things –

+ Worship Space: Jesus overturned the prevailing religious practice in order to make the Temple a place of prayer for everyone. God had provided a place in the Temple area for gentiles to worship and pray. But the religious leaders had turned that space into a market. The people of all nations had no place to pray.

+ Answered Prayer: God is the source of the power to change; and God’s will is sovereign over all our prayer requests. The condition from our perspective is an undivided heart – belief that God can do anything; belief that the request is God’s will; confidence that God will do it, since it’s his will; and purity of heart through forgiveness of those who have sinned against us.

Questions for consideration:

  • Where do you worship in public with others? Is it a welcoming space and place? Would you consider it a place of prayer? Please explain.
  • Think for a moment, is there there anything that Jesus might change to make your public worship place more welcoming to people from “all nations?” Please explain.
  • Are you a person of prayer? Do you believe that God can do anything? How do you know if you are praying according to God’s will? Please explain.
  • Are you holding on to unforgiveness? What would it take to let that go? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

The Persecuted Church: Prayer for the practical needs of persecuted believers:

Heavenly Father, our provider and sustainer: Attend to the needs of your family suffering great hardship and persecution, especially –

+ That they would have access to a Bible…
+ That they would have the courage to remain in their homeland…
+ That those rejected by their family and friends would be welcomed into your family where they are loved and supported emotionally and physically…
+ That socially vulnerable women and those who have lost custody of their children would be protected and their children returned…
+ That those who are destitute would find jobs and safe places to live…

Heavenly Father, you know each one of your children by name: Have mercy on them and attend to their needs according to your perfect will. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

My Prayer:

Heavenly Father: Not my will, but your will be done – and help me to distinguish between the two. Guide me by your Word and Spirit that I might set aside time and space to listen and learn from you. Give me an undivided heart – a heart in tune with the heart of Christ Jesus. And drive away all fear and doubt, that I may do the work you have given me to do, to love and serve you as a faithful witness of Christ my Lord. To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
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“God I Look to You” – Jenn Johnson (Bethel Worship)

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

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