Lenten Prayer: 2nd Saturday, 06 Mar 2021 – Psalm 19; Exodus 19:16-25; Mark 9:2-8 ~ Listen to my beloved Son!

Lenten Prayer: 2nd Saturday, 06 2021

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

Opening:

Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves
to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and
inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all
adversities that may happen to the body, and from all evil
thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus
Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

“A cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud,
“This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

(Mark 9:7)

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Psalms: Psalm 19“Lord You Have The Words” [Francesca LaRosa]

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OT Reading: Exodus 19:16-25 (ESV)

On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to the Lord to look and many of them perish. Also let the priests who come near to the Lord consecrate themselves, lest the Lord break out against them.” And Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for you yourself warned us, saying, ‘Set limits around the mountain and consecrate it.’” And the Lord said to him, “Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, lest he break out against them.” So Moses went down to the people and told them.

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Most Worthy One – SongLab

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NT Reading: Mark 9:2-8 (ESV)

The Transfiguration

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.

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What A Beautiful Name – Hillsong Worship

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Prayer:

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

+ 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.

Transfiguration Sunday: 14 Feb 2021 – 2 Kings 2:1-12; Psalm 27; Mark 9:2-9 ~ “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

Transfiguration Sunday: 14 Feb 2021

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

Opening:

O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son
revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant that we,
beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be
strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness
from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and
ever. Amen.

And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud,
“This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
(Mark 9:7)

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Christ Whose Glory Fills the Skies – Kayla Weisman · Jimmy Robeson

Christ, whose glory fills the skies, Christ, the true, the only light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise, triumph o’er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high, be near; Daystar, in my heart appear.
Christ, whose glory fills the skies, Christ, the true, the only light,

Dark and cheerless is the morn unaccompanied by thee;
joyless is the day’s return, till thy mercy’s beams I see;
till thy inward light impart, cheer my eyes and warm my heart.
Christ, whose glory fills the skies, Christ, the true, the only light,

Visit then this soul of mine; pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
fill me, Radiancy divine, scatter all my unbelief;
more and more thyself display, shining to the perfect day.
Christ, whose glory fills the skies, Christ, the true, the only light,

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O.T. Reading: 2 Kings 2:1-12 (ESV)

Elijah Taken to Heaven

2 Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 And Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. 3 And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he said, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.”

4 Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. 5 The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.”

6 Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. 7 Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. 8 Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground.

9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” 10 And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” 11 And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more.

Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

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Psalms: Psalm 27 (One Thing) – Shane & Shane

The lord is my light
And my salvation
And whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear

The Lord is my strength
The stronghold of my life
And whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear

And you said, “Seek my face.”
Your face, Oh God, I seek
One thing I ask and I will seek
To dwell in the house of the Lord all my days
To gaze upon your beauty, worship at your feet
Oh, one thing I seek

Holy fire, Abba Father
My redeemer, My delight
Holy holy, God almighty
You’re the one thing
That I desire

One thing I ask and I will seek
To dwell in the house of the Lord all my days
To gaze upon your beauty, worship at your feet
Oh, one thing I seek
Only one thing

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N.T. Gospel Reading: Mark 9:2-9 (ESV)

The Transfiguration

2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. 5 And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” 8 And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.

9 And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

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Transfiguration – Hillsong Worship

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Prayer: 

Almighty God, our heavenly Father: in your mercy, hear our prayers.

+ Gracious Father, we pray for your Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.

+ Sovereign Lord, we pray for our local congregations. Grant that the pure Word of God may be preached and the Sacraments duly administered. Strengthen and confirm the faithful; protect and guide the children; visit and relieve the sick; turn and soften the wicked; arouse the careless; recover the fallen; restore the penitent; remove all hindrances to the advancement of your truth; and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church, to the honor and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

+ Almighty God, we pray for those suffering persecution for their faith. Comfort them in their distress, deliver them from evil,  and grant that they may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in them for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

+ Almighty God, kindle, we pray, in the hearts of all people the true love of peace, and guide with your pure and peaceable wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth; that in tranquility your kingdom may go forward, till the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

+ Almighty God, we commend our nation to your merciful care. Fill all in authority with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them continually mindful of their calling to serve this people in reverent obedience to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

+ O merciful Father, we pray for the troubled, the needy and the downcast. In your mercy, remember all those who are destitute, homeless, elderly, infirm, or forgotten. Though they be troubled on every side, relieve their distress; though they are perplexed, save them from despair. Grant this, O Lord, for the love of him who for our sakes became poor, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

+ Almighty and immortal God, giver of life and health, we pray for the sick. Have mercy on them, that by your blessing on them, and on those who minister to them with your healing gifts, they may be restored to health of body and mind, according to your gracious will, and may give thanks to you in your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Heavenly Father, grant these our prayers for the sake of Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Closing: 2 Peter 1:16-18 (ESV)

We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

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

The First Sunday of Lent, 01 Mar 2020, Gen 2:4-9, 15-17, 25—3:7, Ps 51, Rom 5:12-21, Matt 4:1-11 ~ The Temptation of Jesus

The First Sunday of Lent

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

The Collect for Purity:

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.
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“Only a Holy God” – The Acappella Company

Who else commands all the hosts of heaven
Who else could make every king bow down
Who else can whisper and darkness trembles
Only a Holy God

Come and behold Him
The One and the Only
Cry out, sing holy
Forever a Holy God
Come and worship the Holy God

What other beauty demands such praises
What other splendor outshines the sun
What other majesty rules with justice
Only a Holy God

Come and behold Him
The One and the Only
Cry out, sing holy
Forever a Holy God
Come and worship the Holy God

What other glory consumes like fire
What other power can raise the dead
What other name remains undefeated
Only a Holy God

Come and behold Him
The One and the Only
Cry out, sing holy
Forever a Holy God
Come and worship the Holy God

Who else could rescue me from my failing
Who else would offer His only Son
Who else invites me to call Him Father
Only a Holy God
Only my Holy God!

Come and worship the Holy God
Come and worship the Holy God
Come and behold Him
The One and the Only
Cry out, sing holy
Forever a Holy God
Come and worship the Holy God
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Gospel Reading: Matthew 4:1-11 (NLT)
(NLT)

The Temptation of Jesus

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.

During that time the devil[a] came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,

‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, 6 and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,

‘He will order his angels to protect you.
And they will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’”

Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’”

Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”

“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say,

‘You must worship the Lord your God
and serve only him.’”

Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.
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Psalm 51 (Wisdom in the Secret Heart) – Shane & Shane

Behold I was brought forth in iniquity
and in sin did my mother conceive me
Behold you delight in the truth and the inward me
and you teach me, wisdom in the secret heart

Our sins not far but right in front of me
against you and you alone God I am guilty
Wash me thoroughly cleanse me from iniquity
and teach me, wisdom in the secret heart

Create in me a clean heart, oh God
Renew a right spirit within me, oh God
Cast me not away from Your presence
take not Your Holy Spirit
restore in me the joy of Your salvation
and teach me, wisdom in the secret heart

Send me the chief of sinners to proclaim
come be forgiven the sin of the lamb of God was slain
Open my lips and my mouth will declare your endless praise
and teach me, wisdom in the secret heart

The Lord is gracious
and slow to anger
Rich in love, He is good to all
good to all
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Prayer of Confession:

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Absolution of Sin:

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who in his great mercy has promised forgiveness of sins to all those who sincerely repent and with true faith turn to him, have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and bring you to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Word of Comfort

Hear the Word of God to all who truly turn to him.

God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

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“His Mercy Is More” – Praise And Harmony Singers

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Closing: Romans 5:20-21 (NLT)

God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

The Last Sunday of Epiphany, 23 Feb 2020, Ex 24:12-18, Ps 99, Phil 3:7-14, Matt 17:1-9 ~ The Transfiguration

The Last Sunday of Epiphany

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

Opening Prayer:

O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; 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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“He Sits Enthroned” (Psalm 99) – Sons of Korah

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Gospel Reading: Matthew 17:1-9 (NLT)
(NLT)

The Transfiguration

Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus.

Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials – one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground.

Then Jesus came over and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus.

As they went back down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
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“Be Not Afraid” – John Michael Talbot

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Intercession:

Almighty and everliving God, Inspire continually the universal Church with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord; and grant that all who confess your holy Name may agree in the truth of your holy Word, and live in unity and godly love. We pray especially –

+ That you lead the nations of the world in the way of righteousness; Grant that our leaders may impartially administer justice, uphold integrity and truth, restrain wickedness and vice, and protect true religion and virtue.

+ That you give grace to all Church leaders, that by their life and teaching, they may proclaim your true and life-giving Word, and rightly and duly administer your holy Sacraments.

+ That you give your heavenly grace to our worshiping congregations, that with reverent and obedient hearts we may hear and receive your holy Word, and serve you in holiness and righteousness all the days of our lives.

+ That you prosper all those who proclaim the Gospel of your kingdom throughout the world, and strengthen us to fulfill your great commission, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all that you have commanded.

+ That in your goodness, you may comfort and sustain all who in this transitory life are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness  of body, mind, or spirit, or any other adversity especially those suffering persecution for their faith.

+ Almighty and everliving God, grant these our prayers for the sake of Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
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“We Have Seen His Glory” – Praise And Harmony Singers

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Closing: Philippians 3:9-11(NLT)

“God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!”
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+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Monday Morning, 18 Nov 2019, Luke 8:40-9:62 ~ Don’t look back!

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 8:40-9:62 (NLT)

Jesus Heals in Response to Faith

On the other side of the lake the crowds welcomed Jesus, because they had been waiting for him. Then a man named Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come home with him. His only daughter, who was about twelve years old, was dying.

As Jesus went with him, he was surrounded by the crowds. A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.”

But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

While he was still speaking to her, a messenger arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. He told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.”

But when Jesus heard what had happened, he said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.”

When they arrived at the house, Jesus wouldn’t let anyone go in with him except Peter, John, James, and the little girl’s father and mother. The house was filled with people weeping and wailing, but he said, “Stop the weeping! She isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.”

But the crowd laughed at him because they all knew she had died. Then Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud voice, “My child, get up!” And at that moment her life returned, and she immediately stood up! Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were overwhelmed, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone what had happened.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Disciples

One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes. Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town. And if a town refuses to welcome you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”

So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.

Herod’s Confusion

When Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, heard about everything Jesus was doing, he was puzzled. Some were saying that John the Baptist had been raised from the dead. Others thought Jesus was Elijah or one of the other prophets risen from the dead.

“I beheaded John,” Herod said, “so who is this man about whom I hear such stories?” And he kept trying to see him.

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

When the apostles returned, they told Jesus everything they had done. Then he slipped quietly away with them toward the town of Bethsaida. But the crowds found out where he was going, and they followed him. He welcomed them and taught them about the Kingdom of God, and he healed those who were sick.

Late in the afternoon the twelve disciples came to him and said, “Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms, so they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.”

But Jesus said, “You feed them.”

“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” For there were about 5,000 men there.

Jesus replied, “Tell them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.” So the people all sat down. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers!

Peter’s Declaration about Jesus

One day Jesus left the crowds to pray alone. Only his disciples were with him, and he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other ancient prophets risen from the dead.”

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Peter replied, “You are the Messiah sent from God!”

Jesus Predicts His Death

Jesus warned his disciples not to tell anyone who he was. “The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,” he said. “He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God.”

The Transfiguration

About eight days later Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly, two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared and began talking with Jesus. They were glorious to see. And they were speaking about his exodus from this world, which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem.

Peter and the others had fallen asleep. When they woke up, they saw Jesus’ glory and the two men standing with him. As Moses and Elijah were starting to leave, Peter, not even knowing what he was saying, blurted out, “Master, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But even as he was saying this, a cloud overshadowed them, and terror gripped them as the cloud covered them.

Then a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him.” When the voice finished, Jesus was there alone. They didn’t tell anyone at that time what they had seen.

Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy

The next day, after they had come down the mountain, a large crowd met Jesus. A man in the crowd called out to him, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, my only child. An evil spirit keeps seizing him, making him scream. It throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It batters him and hardly ever leaves him alone. I begged your disciples to cast out the spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”

Jesus said, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you and put up with you?” Then he said to the man, “Bring your son here.”

As the boy came forward, the demon knocked him to the ground and threw him into a violent convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit and healed the boy. Then he gave him back to his father. Awe gripped the people as they saw this majestic display of God’s power.

Jesus Again Predicts His Death

While everyone was marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, “Listen to me and remember what I say. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies.” But they didn’t know what he meant. Its significance was hidden from them, so they couldn’t understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.

The Greatest in the Kingdom

Then his disciples began arguing about which of them was the greatest. But Jesus knew their thoughts, so he brought a little child to his side. Then he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.”

Using the Name of Jesus

John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.”

But Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.”

Opposition from Samaritans

As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. So they went on to another village.

The Cost of Following Jesus

As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”

He said to another person, “Come, follow me.”

The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”

But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”

Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”

But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
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Morning Reflection:

Don’t look back!

One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority
to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then he sent them out
to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
(Luke 9:1-2)

Up until now, Kingdom power and authority has only been exercised by Jesus, as He goes about the Father’s business – Jesus alone is the Father’s beloved Son in whom He takes great joy. But in today’s reading, Jesus gives His disciples Kingdom power and authority to do what He has been doing. And off they go!

So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.
(Luke 9:6)

To me the most surprising aspect of this is how little the disciples understood, and yet how much Jesus trusted them with His power and authority – even Judas, presumably, who would later betray Him.

Jesus sent them out-  even before Peter’s confession of faith, or His transfiguration witnessed by Peter, James, and John. And even then they couldn’t wrap their minds around His suffering and death. They were more concerned about jockeying for position in the coming Kingdom, than coming to grips with the cost of following Jesus. But for them, and all who follow Jesus, there would be no turning back.

“Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
(Luke 9:62)

The disciples were works in progress and yet Jesus gave them Kingdom power and authority to spread the Good News and heal the sick. And God uses imperfect people today to do the same.

Questions for consideration:

  • Do you consider yourself a work in progress? Are you concerned about where you fit into the Kingdom? Have you counted the cost of following Jesus? Please explain.
  • After Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was given to every believer. Have you ever told people the Good News or prayed for them to be healed? What was the result? Please explain.
  • What prevents you from putting Jesus first in your life, i.e. leaving everything to follow Him? Please explain.
  • What have you learned about Jesus and His Kingdom that you didn’t understand when you first began to follow Him? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: For the mission of the church

Almighty God, You sent Your Son Jesus Christ to reconcile the world to Yourself: We praise and bless You for sending us in the power of the Spirit to bring the Good News of the Kingdom to all people in every part of the world. Thank You for the communities of love that You have gathered together by their prayers and labors. And thank You for Your servants who call upon your Name in every place; for the kingdom and the power and the glory are Yours, for ever and ever. Amen.

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“I Am Listening” – Forever Be Sure

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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