The Second Sunday of Easter, 19 April 2020 – John 20:19-31, 1 Peter 1:3-9, Psalm 111 ~ “Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

The Second Sunday of Easter, 19 April 2020

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

Opening:

Almighty and everlasting God, through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, Christ, you established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may practice in their lives what they profess by faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Above All – Michael W. Smith

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A Reading from the Gospels: John 20:19-31 (NLT)

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus Appears to Thomas

One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

Purpose of the Book

The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.
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A Reading from the Book of Acts: Acts 2:14, 22-32 (NLT)

Peter Preaches to the Crowd

Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this.
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“People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip. King David said this about him:

‘I see that the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts his praises! My body rests in hope.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.
You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’

“Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us. But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on his throne. David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave.

“God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this.”
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Tehillim: Psalm 111– Tav Mem Bet

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Prayers of Intercession:

Almighty and everlasting God: we thank you and praise you with all our hearts!

+ For all who love you remember your Son’s death for the forgiveness of their sins….

+ For all who love you remember your Son’s resurrection for their empowerment….

+ For all who live in you remember their transformation by your Word and Spirit….

Almighty and everlasting God: everything you do is glorious and majestic, and your power to bring justice will never end.

+ For the honor of your name, show your kindness, justice and mercy to all who are affected by this pandemic….

+ For the honor of your name, provide the essential supplies needed to all who are affected by this pandemic….

+ For the honor of your name, pour out your Spirit and show the nations of the world your mighty power….

+ For the honor of your name, give wisdom and good sense to all who are entrusted with leadership….

Almighty and everlasting God: your ways are true and right and fair – you are trustworthy and faithful. Renew us in faith and joy-filled expectation, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
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A Reading from the Epistles: 1 Peter 1:3-9 (NLT)

The Hope of Eternal Life

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
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Grace Of The Lord Jesus Christ – Simon Khorolskiy & Brothers

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Closing: 1 Peter 3:8-9 (NLT)

You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

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

Friday of Easter Week, 17 April 2020 – John 21:1-14, 1 Pet 1:3-9, Psalm 116:1-9 ~ born again to live expectantly

Friday of Easter Week, 17 April 2020

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

Opening:

Almighty Father, who gave your only Son to die for our sins and to rise for our justification: Give us grace so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve you in purity of life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus Christ,
our hope, our light, and our salvation.

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A Reading from the Gospels: John 21:1-14 (NLT)

Epilogue: Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples

Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.

Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”

“We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.

At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. 5 He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”

“No,” they replied.

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.

Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.

“Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn.

“Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.
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A Reading from the Epistles: 1 Pet 1:3-9 (NLT)

The Hope of Eternal Life

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
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Psalm 116: Dilexi, quoniam (My delight is in the Lord)
Choir of the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, New York

I love the Lord, because he has heard the voice of my supplication, *
because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I called upon him.

The cords of death entangled me;
the grip of the grave took hold of me; *
I came to grief and sorrow.

Then I called upon the Name of the Lord: *
“O Lord, I pray you, save my life.”

Gracious is the Lord and righteous; *
our God is full of compassion.

The Lord watches over the innocent; *
I was brought very low, and he helped me.

Turn again to your rest, O my soul. *
for the Lord has treated you well.

For you have rescued my life from death, *
my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling.

I will walk in the presence of the Lord *
in the land of the living.

I believed, even when I said,
“I have been brought very low.” *
In my distress I said, “No one can be trusted.”

How shall I repay the Lord *
for all the good things he has done for me?

I will lift up the cup of salvation *
and call upon the Name of the Lord.

I will fulfill my vows to the Lord *
in the presence of all his people.

Precious in the sight of the Lord *
is the death of his servants.

O Lord, I am your servant; *
I am your servant and the child of your handmaid;
you have freed me from my bonds.

I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving *
and call upon the Name of the Lord.

I will fulfill my vows to the Lord *
in the presence of all his people,

In the courts of the Lord’s house, *
in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Hallelujah!

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:

As it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.
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Closing: Psalm 116:7-9 (NLT) – 

Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me.
He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.
And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth!

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

Friday Morning: 05 Jul 2019 – 1 Peter 1:1-12 ~ Live with Heaven in mind.

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 – 1 Peter 1:1-12 (NLT)

Greetings from Peter

This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.

I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

May God give you more and more grace and peace.

The Hope of Eternal Life

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.

They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.
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Morning Reflection:

Live with Heaven in mind.

May God give you more and more grace and peace.
– 1 Peter 1:2 –

The Apostle Peter sent his letter to believers, mainly Gentiles, living as foreigners in the northern regions of Asia Minor (modern western Turkey). His purpose was to encourage those who were facing persecution for their faith to stand firm.

In today’s reading, Peter reminds us of our identity as believers: we have been chosen by God, cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and made holy by the Spirit at work within us.

+ In Christ, we have hope – because He lives, we shall live. Our new birth gave us this life. Consequently our hope is both alive within us and part of our new life in Christ.
+ In Christ, we have joy – even in our trials, because we have hope, faith, and love. Our present joy is infused with God’s glory; it’s a foretaste of the glory we will experience when Christ returns.
+ In Christ, we have a model of suffering in obedience to God. Both suffering and joy are normative aspects of Christian life.

Questions for consideration:

  • Do you see yourself as a foreigner in the place where you live? How does that affect your understanding of citizenship? Please explain.
  • When you think about who you are (your identity), how is your self-image shaped by what people say about you? How is your self-image shaped by what God says about you? Please explain.
  • Can you think of an example when faith in Jesus Christ changed your despair into hope, your sadness into joy? Please explain.
  • Do you view suffering as normative for Christians? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: For Times of Suffering or Weakness

Dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: I hold up all my weakness to your strength, my failure to your faithfulness, my sinfulness to your perfection, my loneliness to your compassion, my little pains to your great agony on the Cross. I pray that you will cleanse me, strengthen me, guide me, so that in all ways my life may be lived as you would have it lived, without cowardice and for you alone. Show me how to live in true humility, true contrition, and true love. Amen.

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“This World is Not My Home” – Charity Youth Bible School

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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

Daily Reading: 03 Aug – The Apostles’ Teaching: A Living Hope – 1 Peter 1:1-2:12

Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

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

E100:19.c – The Apostles’ Teaching

A Living Hope – 1 Peter 1:1-2:12 (NLT)

Greetings from Peter

1 Peter 1  This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.

I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. 2 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

May God give you more and more grace and peace.

The Hope of Eternal Life

priceless

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.

12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.

A Call to Holy Living

13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

1-holiness

17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.

21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.

22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.

23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say,

“People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. 25 But the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.

1 Peter 2  So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

Living Stones for God’s House

cross build the church

4 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.

5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 6 As the Scriptures say,

“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”

7 Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him,

“The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.”

8 And,

“He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.

9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

10 “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”

John Bunyan - Pilgrim's Progress
John Bunyan – Pilgrim’s Progress

11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
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Prayer

Merciful God: I come to you through faith in your Son, Jesus Christ – who paid my ransom by shedding his blood on the cross for my sin. Thank you for adopting me into your family. I greet this day with joy-filled expectation – knowing that, whatever my present circumstance may be, a priceless inheritance awaits me in heaven.

Holy God: Make me like you – through the transforming power of your Spirit at work in me. Holiness, Christ-likeness, that’s what you want from me – and yet it seems like such an impossibility in my deeply flawed life. Forgive my deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and unkind speech. Today, once again, I place my life in your hands; work your purpose in me as you choose.

Heavenly Father: This world is not my home, I am a “temporary resident and foreigner” in a strange land that is becoming stranger every day. Give me wisdom and sound judgement that I may find favor with you and my unbelieving neighbors. May my identity as one of your children display your goodness, and bring honor to your name.

I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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“This world is not my home” – Ricky Scaggs


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Closing Sentence

The Lord bless us, and keep us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.

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