Year V: Week 4 of Epiphany

Saturday: Afternoon Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

We are currently in the Epiphany season; the time between Christmas and Lent. Epiphany celebrates the long awaited manifestation of Christ; no longer as a baby in a manger but as the Saviour of the World. The Epiphany season continues right through until the beginning of Lent and the gospel readings follow Jesus’ early ministry. The afternoon readings continue a chronological tour through the scriptures; whilst the readings at Compline continue to work their way through Paul’s letter’s.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
God, come to my assistance.
All:
Lord, make haste to help me.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


AFTERNOON PSALM

Psalm 56

For the choir director: A psalm of David, regarding the time the Philistines seized him in Gath. To be sung to the tune “Dove on Distant Oaks.”

O God, have mercy on me,
    for people are hounding me.
    My foes attack me all day long.
I am constantly hounded by those who slander me,
    and many are boldly attacking me.
But when I am afraid,
    I will put my trust in you.
I praise God for what he has promised.
    I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
    What can mere mortals do to me?

They are always twisting what I say;
    they spend their days plotting to harm me.
They come together to spy on me—
    watching my every step, eager to kill me.
Don’t let them get away with their wickedness;
    in your anger, O God, bring them down.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
    You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
    You have recorded each one in your book.

My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
    This I know: God is on my side!
I praise God for what he has promised;
    yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
    What can mere mortals do to me?

I will fulfill my vows to you, O God,
    and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help.
For you have rescued me from death;
    you have kept my feet from slipping.
So now I can walk in your presence, O God,
    in your life-giving light.

All:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


WORSHIP
(Optional)

All:
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


OLD TESTAMENT READING

Genesis 32:1-21

Jacob Meets Esau

When Jacob also went his way, the angels of God met him. When he saw them, he said, “This is the camp of God!” So he named that place Mahanaim.

Jacob’s brother Esau was living in the area called Seir in the country of Edom. Jacob sent messengers to Esau, telling them, “Give this message to my master Esau: ‘This is what Jacob, your servant, says: I have lived with Laban and have remained there until now. I have cattle, donkeys, flocks, and male and female servants. I send this message to you and ask you to accept us.’”

The messengers returned to Jacob and said, “We went to your brother Esau. He is coming to meet you and has four hundred men with him.”

Then Jacob was very afraid and worried. He divided the people who were with him and all the flocks, herds, and camels into two camps. Jacob thought, “Esau might come and destroy one camp, but the other camp can run away and be saved.”

Then Jacob said, “God of my father Abraham! God of my father Isaac! Lord, you told me to return to my country and my family. You said that you would treat me well. I am not worthy of the kindness and continual goodness you have shown me. The first time I traveled across the Jordan River, I had only my walking stick, but now I own enough to have two camps. Please save me from my brother Esau. I am afraid he will come and kill all of us, even the mothers with the children. You said to me, ‘I will treat you well and will make your children as many as the sand of the seashore. There will be too many to count.’”

Jacob stayed there for the night and prepared a gift for Esau from what he had with him: two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred female sheep and twenty male sheep, thirty female camels and their young, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys, and ten male donkeys. Jacob gave each separate flock of animals to one of his servants and said to them, “Go ahead of me and keep some space between each herd.” Jacob gave them their orders. To the servant with the first group of animals he said, “My brother Esau will come to you and ask, ‘Whose servant are you? Where are you going and whose animals are these?’ Then you will answer, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. He sent them as a gift to you, my master Esau, and he also is coming behind us.’”

Jacob ordered the second servant, the third servant, and all the other servants to do the same thing. He said, “Say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. Say, ‘Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.’” Jacob thought, “If I send these gifts ahead of me, maybe Esau will forgive me. Then when I see him, perhaps he will accept me.” So Jacob sent the gifts to Esau, but he himself stayed that night in the camp.

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection……


PRAYER

(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning. You may like to end with the following prayer…)

Reader:

Lord Jesus we thank you for the many blessings of this day,
Give us eyes to see the path ahead,
And faith to reach towards the prize. Amen

 

GRACE (Optional)

Reader:

Lord God, we thank you for your gift to us of this food;
Produce of earth, sky, many living beings, and much hard work.

May we eat with prayerfulness, gratitude and moderation;
With renewed minds and spirit-controlled appetites.

May we eat with compassion for those who hunger today,
And in such a way that reduces the suffering of all creatures;
Healing and preserving our precious planet.

Use this food to strengthen our bodies, revive our spirits,
Nurture our family and nourish our resolve;
That we may continue to serve all that lives with all our life. Amen


Psalms in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved

All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year V: Week 4 of Epiphany

Saturday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

We are currently in the Epiphany season; the time between Christmas and Lent. Epiphany celebrates the long awaited manifestation of Christ; no longer as a baby in a manger but as the Saviour of the World. The Epiphany season continues right through until the beginning of Lent and the gospel readings follow Jesus’ early ministry. The afternoon readings continue a chronological tour through the scriptures; whilst the readings at Compline continue to work their way through Paul’s letter’s.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
Lord, Open my lips.
All:
And my mouth will give you praise.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


INVITATORY PSALM:

Psalm 95:1-7 (Venite, exultemus)

All:

A Call to Worship

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.

All:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


MORNING PSALM

Psalm 48

A song. A psalm of the descendants of Korah.

How great is the Lord,
    how deserving of praise,
in the city of our God,
    which sits on his holy mountain!
It is high and magnificent;
    the whole earth rejoices to see it!
Mount Zion, the holy mountain,
    is the city of the great King!
God himself is in Jerusalem’s towers,
    revealing himself as its defender.

The kings of the earth joined forces
    and advanced against the city.
But when they saw it, they were stunned;
    they were terrified and ran away.
They were gripped with terror
    and writhed in pain like a woman in labor.
You destroyed them like the mighty ships of Tarshish
    shattered by a powerful east wind.

We had heard of the city’s glory,
    but now we have seen it ourselves—
    the city of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
It is the city of our God;
    he will make it safe forever. Interlude

O God, we meditate on your unfailing love
    as we worship in your Temple.
As your name deserves, O God,
    you will be praised to the ends of the earth.
    Your strong right hand is filled with victory.
Let the people on Mount Zion rejoice.
    Let all the towns of Judah be glad
    because of your justice.

Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem.
    Walk around and count the many towers.
Take note of the fortified walls,
    and tour all the citadels,
that you may describe them
    to future generations.
For that is what God is like.
    He is our God forever and ever,
    and he will guide us until we die.

All:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


WORSHIP

All:
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


PRAYER & INTERCESSION

Reader:
Let us pray for the day and its tasks, for the church and her life, and for the world and its needs.

(You may use these prayers as written or use them as ‘prayer pointers’ for your own spontaneous petitions.

Personal Requests

  • Saviour and Friend, as we begin the weekend we ask for refreshment in our bodies and restoration to our spirits. Give us the ability in this frantic world to “come aside and rest awhile” and rediscover what it is to be the dwelling place of God.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • May we know purpose in every moment and peace in every step.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For the ability to lay down the technology that distracts and the fears that disturb.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For spaces of solitude, moments of silence and time to stop and stare.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…

Family & Friends

  • Lord Jesus, you came to deliver us from self, sin and Satan in order that you might live in us by the power of your Spirit. We welcome your presence and are overawed at the humility of God.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • Being mindful of your embrace, we reach out today to those on the lonely fringes of our community and welcome them into our world.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • We bring before you our friends and family. May they be happy. May they be well. May they be wrapped in your loving embrace.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we ask that this weekend many will find sanctuary within your House. May your church be united in praise and awesome as an army with banners! May her numbers daily increase and her love for you be ever more fervent.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For those who bring your word to our streets, for Street Pastors, Street Evangelism Teams and all forms of outreach. May no one die without the offer of the gospel.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For those who bring mercy to our cities, for the work of Food Bank, Homeless Night Shelters, the agencies of practical aid and the many other expressions of Christian charity…
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…

The World

  • Ever Living God, we ask for a renewed call to missions. Send forth your labourers into the harvest, for the harvest is ripe but the labourers are few! May thousands of hearts receive your transforming power today.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For those who can only witness with their lifestyle because their voices are silenced through persecution and oppression. May their lives speak powerfully of your love.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…
  • For the protection of your church when she is attacked, the provision of your church when she is deprived and the steadfastness of your church when she is derided.
             – For the Kingdom of Heaven is within…


THE LORD’S
PRAYER

Reader:
And so we pray…

All:
Our Father in heaven,
Holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
Forever and ever. Amen.


GOSPEL READING

Matthew 19:1-15

Jesus Teaches About Divorce

After Jesus said all these things, he left Galilee and went into the area of Judea on the other side of the Jordan River. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

Some Pharisees came to Jesus and tried to trick him. They asked, “Is it right for a man to divorce his wife for any reason he chooses?”

Jesus answered, “Surely you have read in the Scriptures: When God made the world, ‘he made them male and female.’ And God said, ‘So a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one body.’ So there are not two, but one. God has joined the two together, so no one should separate them.”

The Pharisees asked, “Why then did Moses give a command for a man to divorce his wife by giving her divorce papers?”

Jesus answered, “Moses allowed you to divorce your wives because you refused to accept God’s teaching, but divorce was not allowed in the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman is guilty of adultery. The only reason for a man to divorce his wife is if his wife has sexual relations with another man.”

The followers said to him, “If that is the only reason a man can divorce his wife, it is better not to marry.”

Jesus answered, “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but God has made some able to accept it. There are different reasons why some men cannot marry. Some men were born without the ability to become fathers. Others were made that way later in life by other people. And some men have given up marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. But the person who can marry should accept this teaching about marriage.”

Jesus Welcomes Children

Then the people brought their little children to Jesus so he could put his hands on them and pray for them. His followers told them to stop, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people who are like these children.” After Jesus put his hands on the children, he left there.

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…

READING: THE WAY OF CHRIST (Optional)

Principle of discipleship drawn from the book, “The Way of Christ”

Reader:
The Way of Compassion: The Principle of Compassionate Listening.

Mindful of the brokenness of those around me, I determine to cultivate the art of deep, non-judgemental listening. As a follower of the Way of Compassion, I will seek rather to understand than to be understood.

All:
This is The Way of Compassion: The Principle of Compassionate Listening.


Pause for Reflection…


THE APOSTLES CREED

Reader:
And so we make our declaration of faith…

All:
We believe in God the Father, Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into the grave;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy Worldwide Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting. Amen.


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Give us grace, O Lord,
To answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ
And proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation,
That we and the whole world may perceive,
The glory of his marvelous works;
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever. Amen.


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may the light of the world shine in your heart,
Chasing the dark night of sin away,
And shedding over your world light unquenchable. Amen.


Psalms in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved

All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year V: Week 4 of Epiphany

Friday: Compline

ABOUT COMPLINE

Compline (which comes from the Latin word for completion) follows a very ancient format that has been largely unchanged for many centuries. It is simple enough to memorise and it’s familiar rhythm helps to wonderfully settle the mind before sleep. It is a time of quietness and reflection and is best done as the very last thing you do before turning off the lights and going to sleep.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
God, come to my assistance
All:
Lord, make haste to help me.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


EXAMINATION OF
CONSCIENCE

We are called to have a clear conscience towards God and towards men, in our hearts and in our minds, in our actions and inactions. To do so, it is vital that we examine our conscience daily and ask for God’s mercy as we fall short and to ask His strength to do better.


Pause for Reflection…

All: (When praying in community, use the words in parenthesis)

I confess to God almighty,
(and to you my brothers and sisters,)
that I have greatly sinned,
In my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do.
Through my fault, through my foolishness,
And through my fear.

Almighty God, have mercy upon me.
Forgive me all my sins,
and deliver me from all evil.
Confirm and strengthen me in all goodness,
and bring me to life everlasting.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Pause for Reflection…

Reader:
Lord, Have mercy.
All:
Lord, have mercy.
Reader:
Christ, Have mercy.
All:
Christ, have mercy.
Reader:
Lord, Have mercy.
All:
Lord, have mercy.


EVENING PSALM

Psalm 134

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

Oh, praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
you who serve at night in the house of the Lord.
Lift your hands toward the sanctuary,
and praise the Lord.

May the Lord, who made heaven and earth,
bless you from Jerusalem.

All:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


WORSHIP

All:
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


NEW TESTAMENT READING

Colossians 2:16-23

Don’t Follow People’s Rules

So do not let anyone make rules for you about eating and drinking or about a religious feast, a New Moon Festival, or a Sabbath day. These things were like a shadow of what was to come. But what is true and real has come and is found in Christ. Do not let anyone disqualify you by making you humiliate yourself and worship angels. Such people enter into visions, which fill them with foolish pride because of their human way of thinking. They do not hold tightly to Christ, the head. It is from him that all the parts of the body are cared for and held together. So it grows in the way God wants it to grow.

Since you died with Christ and were made free from the ruling spirits of the world, why do you act as if you still belong to this world by following rules like these: “Don’t handle this,” “Don’t taste that,” “Don’t even touch that thing”? These rules refer to earthly things that are gone as soon as they are used. They are only human commands and teachings. They seem to be wise, but they are only part of a human religion. They make people pretend not to be proud and make them punish their bodies, but they do not really control the evil desires of the sinful self.

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…


RESPONSORY

Reader:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
All:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.

Reader:
You have redeemed us, Lord God of truth.
All:
I commend my spirit.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.


SONG OF SIMEON
(Nunc Dimitis)

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.

Luke 2:29-32

Lord, now let your servant depart in peace,
your word has been fulfilled:
My own eyes have seen the salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people.
A light to reveal you to the nations,
and the glory of your people, Israel.

All:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.


PRAYER

(You might like to spend a few moments thanking God for the day or bringing to him any outstanding issues.)


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Be present, O God,
And protect us through the silent hours of this night,
So that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world,
May rest upon your eternal changelessness.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your son our Lord,
Who is alive and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Spirit,
One God, now and forever, Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful end. Amen


Psalms in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved

All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year V: Week 4 of Epiphany

Friday: Afternoon Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

We are currently in the Epiphany season; the time between Christmas and Lent. Epiphany celebrates the long awaited manifestation of Christ; no longer as a baby in a manger but as the Saviour of the World.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
God, come to my assistance.
All:
Lord, make haste to help me.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


AFTERNOON PSALM

Psalm 55

For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by stringed instruments.

Listen to my prayer, O God.
    Do not ignore my cry for help!
Please listen and answer me,
    for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.
My enemies shout at me,
    making loud and wicked threats.
They bring trouble on me
    and angrily hunt me down.

My heart pounds in my chest.
    The terror of death assaults me.
Fear and trembling overwhelm me,
    and I can’t stop shaking.
Oh, that I had wings like a dove;
    then I would fly away and rest!
I would fly far away
    to the quiet of the wilderness. Interlude
How quickly I would escape—
    far from this wild storm of hatred.

Confuse them, Lord, and frustrate their plans,
    for I see violence and conflict in the city.
Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders,
    but the real danger is wickedness within the city.
Everything is falling apart;
    threats and cheating are rampant in the streets.

It is not an enemy who taunts me—
    I could bear that.
It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me—
    I could have hidden from them.
Instead, it is you—my equal,
    my companion and close friend.
What good fellowship we once enjoyed
    as we walked together to the house of God.

Let death stalk my enemies;
    let the grave swallow them alive,
    for evil makes its home within them.

But I will call on God,
    and the Lord will rescue me.
Morning, noon, and night
    I cry out in my distress,
    and the Lord hears my voice.
He ransoms me and keeps me safe
    from the battle waged against me,
    though many still oppose me.
God, who has ruled forever,
    will hear me and humble them. Interlude
For my enemies refuse to change their ways;
    they do not fear God.

As for my companion, he betrayed his friends;
    he broke his promises.
His words are as smooth as butter,
    but in his heart is war.
His words are as soothing as lotion,
    but underneath are daggers!

Give your burdens to the Lord,
    and he will take care of you.
    He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

But you, O God, will send the wicked
    down to the pit of destruction.
Murderers and liars will die young,
    but I am trusting you to save me.

All:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


WORSHIP
(Optional)

All:
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


OLD TESTAMENT READING

Genesis 31:22-55

Three days later Laban learned that Jacob had run away, so he gathered his relatives and began to chase him. After seven days Laban found him in the mountains of Gilead. That night God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream and said, “Be careful! Do not say anything to Jacob, good or bad.”

The Search for the Stolen Idols

So Laban caught up with Jacob. Now Jacob had made his camp in the mountains, so Laban and his relatives set up their camp in the mountains of Gilead. Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You cheated me and took my daughters as if you had captured them in a war. Why did you run away secretly and trick me? Why didn’t you tell me? Then I could have sent you away with joy and singing and with the music of tambourines and harps. You did not even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters good-bye. You were very foolish to do this! I have the power to harm you, but last night the God of your father spoke to me and warned me not to say anything to you, good or bad. I know you want to go back to your home, but why did you steal my idols?”

Jacob answered Laban, “I left without telling you, because I was afraid you would take your daughters away from me. If you find anyone here who has taken your idols, that person will be killed! Your relatives will be my witnesses. You may look for anything that belongs to you and take anything that is yours.” (Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen Laban’s idols.)

So Laban looked in Jacob’s tent, in Leah’s tent, and in the tent where the two slave women stayed, but he did not find his idols. When he left Leah’s tent, he went into Rachel’s tent. Rachel had hidden the idols inside her camel’s saddle and was sitting on them. Although Laban looked through the whole tent, he did not find them.

Rachel said to her father, “Father, don’t be angry with me. I am not able to stand up before you because I am having my monthly period.” So Laban looked through the camp, but he did not find his idols.

Then Jacob became very angry and said, “What wrong have I done? What law have I broken to cause you to chase me? You have looked through everything I own, but you have found nothing that belongs to you. If you have found anything, show it to everyone. Put it in front of your relatives and my relatives, and let them decide which one of us is right. I have worked for you now for twenty years. During all that time none of the lambs and kids died during birth, and I have not eaten any of the male sheep from your flocks. Any time an animal was killed by wild beasts, I did not bring it to you, but made up for the loss myself. You made me pay for any animal that was stolen during the day or night. In the daytime the sun took away my strength, and at night I was cold and could not sleep. I worked like a slave for you for twenty years—the first fourteen to get your two daughters and the last six to earn your flocks. During that time you changed my pay ten times. But the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac, was with me. Otherwise, you would have sent me away with nothing. But he saw the trouble I had and the hard work I did, and last night he corrected you.”

Jacob and Laban’s Agreement

Laban said to Jacob, “These girls are my daughters. Their children belong to me, and these flocks are mine. Everything you see here belongs to me, but I can do nothing to keep my daughters and their children. Let us make an agreement, and let us set up a pile of stones to remind us of it.”

So Jacob took a large rock and set it up on its end. He told his relatives to gather rocks, so they took the rocks and piled them up; then they ate beside the pile. Laban named that place in his language A Pile to Remind Us, and Jacob gave the place the same name in Hebrew.

Laban said to Jacob, “This pile of rocks will remind us of the agreement between us.” That is why the place was called A Pile to Remind Us. It was also called Mizpah, because Laban said, “Let the Lord watch over us while we are separated from each other. Remember that God is our witness even if no one else is around us. He will know if you harm my daughters or marry other women. Here is the pile of rocks that I have put between us and here is the rock I set up on end. This pile of rocks and this rock set on end will remind us of our agreement. I will never go past this pile to hurt you, and you must never come to my side of them to hurt me. Let the God of Abraham, who is the God of Nahor and the God of their ancestors, punish either of us if we break this agreement.”

So Jacob made a promise in the name of the God whom his father Isaac worshiped. Then Jacob killed an animal and offered it as a sacrifice on the mountain, and he invited his relatives to share in the meal. After they finished eating, they spent the night on the mountain. Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them, and then he left to return home.

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection……


PRAYER

(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning. You may like to end with the following prayer…)

Reader:

Mighty God, as we come to the end of our week,
Grant your blessings over all we love and your increase upon all we do,

We ask this in Jesus name. Amen

 

GRACE (Optional)

Reader:

Lord God, we thank you for your gift to us of this food;
Produce of earth, sky, many living beings, and much hard work.

May we eat with prayerfulness, gratitude and moderation;
With renewed minds and spirit-controlled appetites.

May we eat with compassion for those who hunger today,
And in such a way that reduces the suffering of all creatures;
Healing and preserving our precious planet.

Use this food to strengthen our bodies, revive our spirits,
Nurture our family and nourish our resolve;
That we may continue to serve all that lives with all our life. Amen


Psalms in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved

All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year V: Week 4 of Epiphany

Friday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

We are currently in the Epiphany season; the time between Christmas and Lent. Epiphany celebrates the long awaited manifestation of Christ; no longer as a baby in a manger but as the Saviour of the World. The Epiphany season continues right through until the beginning of Lent and the gospel readings follow Jesus’ early ministry. The afternoon readings continue a chronological tour through the scriptures; whilst the readings at Compline continue to work their way through Paul’s letter’s.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
Lord, Open my lips.
All:
And my mouth will give you praise.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


INVITATORY PSALM:

Psalm 95:1-7 (Venite, exultemus)

All:

A Call to Worship

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.

All:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


MORNING PSALM

Psalm 47

For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah.

Come, everyone! Clap your hands!
    Shout to God with joyful praise!
For the Lord Most High is awesome.
    He is the great King of all the earth.
He subdues the nations before us,
    putting our enemies beneath our feet.
He chose the Promised Land as our inheritance,
    the proud possession of Jacob’s descendants, whom he loves. Interlude

God has ascended with a mighty shout.
    The Lord has ascended with trumpets blaring.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
    sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King over all the earth.
    Praise him with a psalm.
God reigns above the nations,
    sitting on his holy throne.
The rulers of the world have gathered together
    with the people of the God of Abraham.
For all the kings of the earth belong to God.
    He is highly honored everywhere.

All:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


WORSHIP

All:
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


PRAYER & INTERCESSION

Reader:
Let us pray for the day and its tasks, for the church and her life, and for the world and its needs.

(You may use these prayers as written or use them as ‘prayer pointers’ for your own spontaneous petitions.

Personal Requests

  • Mighty Lord, we offer this new day as a gift to you even as you have given it freely to us. Fill our hearts with joy and our path with peace as we enter upon the business of the day, and may your presence go with us to bring us rest.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • May we be messengers of love to this world today. Knowing that the words of the wise are few; may only that which is true, kind and necessary pass from our lips.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For insight to untangle what is knotted and wisdom to straighten that which is crooked.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For calmness to accept that which cannot be changed and grace to accept that which shouldn’t be altered.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…

Family & Friends

  • Lord Jesus, you call us your friends and consider us your disciples. May our friendships lead us more deeply in devotion to you and may the lonely find shelter in our homes and hearts.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • Comfort those who have been broken by abuse or abandonment; or consider themselves unloved and unlovely.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For those at the beginning of life’s journey, that they may be deeply loved and cared for. Keep the children of our community from all harm. May they find happiness and joy.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For those who are nearing the end of their race; may their fears be transformed into anticipation and their faith bear much fruit in the latter day.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we call those who are wandering back into your fold, even as you came “to seek and to save that which was lost.” Let the prodigals return and the confused find rest.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For those who are sick in mind, body and spirit, speak your word and heal their disease.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • Bless the work of those in pastoral ministries, tending the flock and restoring the bruised and broken…
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For the grace to be subject to one another in love, preferring the other before ourselves.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…

The World

  • Ever-living God, we stand in the place of intercession and ask for your mercy upon our nation. If you remembered our transgressions, then who could stand? Show yourself strong in compassion and forgive us our sins.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For those living on the streets, without family or home. Empower your church, that none may sleep rough without the offer of shelter.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For your people working in education, social services, law enforcement and the judiciary, that their light may shine brightly…
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture…
  • For our Queen and Royal family. May she defend your cause, be protected from her enemies and know your peace.
             – For we are the sheep of your pasture


THE LORD’S
PRAYER

Reader:
And so we pray…

All:
Our Father in heaven,
Holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
Forever and ever. Amen.


GOSPEL READING

Matthew 18:21-35

An Unforgiving Servant

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, when my fellow believer sins against me, how many times must I forgive him? Should I forgive him as many as seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive him more than seven times. You must forgive him even if he wrongs you seventy times seven.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who decided to collect the money his servants owed him. When the king began to collect his money, a servant who owed him several million dollars was brought to him. But the servant did not have enough money to pay his master, the king. So the master ordered that everything the servant owned should be sold, even the servant’s wife and children. Then the money would be used to pay the king what the servant owed.

“But the servant fell on his knees and begged, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything I owe.’ The master felt sorry for his servant and told him he did not have to pay it back. Then he let the servant go free.

“Later, that same servant found another servant who owed him a few dollars. The servant grabbed him around the neck and said, ‘Pay me the money you owe me!’

“The other servant fell on his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything I owe.’

“But the first servant refused to be patient. He threw the other servant into prison until he could pay everything he owed. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were very sorry. So they went and told their master all that had happened.

“Then the master called his servant in and said, ‘You evil servant! Because you begged me to forget what you owed, I told you that you did not have to pay anything. You should have showed mercy to that other servant, just as I showed mercy to you.’ The master was very angry and put the servant in prison to be punished until he could pay everything he owed.

“This king did what my heavenly Father will do to you if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…

READING: THE WAY OF CHRIST (Optional)

Principle of discipleship drawn from the book, “The Way of Christ”

Reader:
The Way of Compassion: The Principle of Non-Discrimination.

Conscious of my deep connection with all of creation, and that everything I have is a gift of grace; I seek a heart free from discrimination, judgemental attitudes and personal opinions. As a follower of the Way of Compassion, I sow my heart with seeds of acceptance, forgiveness, grace and mercy.

All:
This is The Way of Compassion: The Principle of Non-Discrimination.


Pause for Reflection…


THE APOSTLES CREED

Reader:
And so we make our declaration of faith…

All:
We believe in God the Father, Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into the grave;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy Worldwide Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting. Amen.


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Most loving Father,
Whose will it is for us to give thanks for all things,
To fear nothing but the loss of you,
And to cast all our care on you who care for us:
Preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties,
That no clouds of this mortal life may hide from us
The light of that love which is immortal,
And which you have manifested to us,
In your Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
Who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and for ever. Amen.


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,
Give light to your path and banish all fear and doubt. Amen.


Psalms in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved

All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year V: Week 4 of Epiphany

Thursday: Compline

ABOUT COMPLINE

Compline (which comes from the Latin word for completion) follows a very ancient format that has been largely unchanged for many centuries. It is simple enough to memorise and it’s familiar rhythm helps to wonderfully settle the mind before sleep. It is a time of quietness and reflection and is best done as the very last thing you do before turning off the lights and going to sleep.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
God, come to my assistance
All:
Lord, make haste to help me.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


EXAMINATION OF
CONSCIENCE

We are called to have a clear conscience towards God and towards men, in our hearts and in our minds, in our actions and inactions. To do so, it is vital that we examine our conscience daily and ask for God’s mercy as we fall short and to ask His strength to do better.


Pause for Reflection…

 

All: (When praying in community, use the words in parenthesis)

I confess to God almighty,
(and to you my brothers and sisters,)
that I have greatly sinned,
In my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do.
Through my fault, through my foolishness,
And through my fear.

Almighty God, have mercy upon me.
Forgive me all my sins,
and deliver me from all evil.
Confirm and strengthen me in all goodness,
and bring me to life everlasting.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Pause for Reflection…

 

Reader:
Lord, Have mercy.
All:
Lord, have mercy.
Reader:
Christ, Have mercy.
All:
Christ, have mercy.
Reader:
Lord, Have mercy.
All:
Lord, have mercy.


EVENING PSALM

Psalm 91

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.

If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”

All:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


WORSHIP

All:
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


NEW TESTAMENT READING

Colossians 1:24-29

Also in Christ you had a different kind of circumcision, a circumcision not done by hands. It was through Christ’s circumcision, that is, his death, that you were made free from the power of your sinful self. When you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and you were raised up with him through your faith in God’s power that was shown when he raised Christ from the dead. When you were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not free from the power of your sinful self, God made you alive with Christ, and he forgave all our sins. He canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross. God stripped the spiritual rulers and powers of their authority. With the cross, he won the victory and showed the world that they were powerless.

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…


RESPONSORY

Reader:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
All:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.

Reader:
You have redeemed us, Lord God of truth.
All:
I commend my spirit.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.


SONG OF SIMEON
(Nunc Dimitis)

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.

Luke 2:29-32

Lord, now let your servant depart in peace,
your word has been fulfilled:
My own eyes have seen the salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people.
A light to reveal you to the nations,
and the glory of your people, Israel.

All:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.


PRAYER

(You might like to spend a few moments thanking God for the day or bringing to him any outstanding issues.)


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Be present, O God,
And protect us through the silent hours of this night,
So that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world,
May rest upon your eternal changelessness.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your son our Lord,
Who is alive and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Spirit,
One God, now and forever, Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful end. Amen


Psalms in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved

All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year V: Week 4 of Epiphany

Thursday: Afternoon Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

We are currently in the Epiphany season; the time between Christmas and Lent. Epiphany celebrates the long awaited manifestation of Christ; no longer as a baby in a manger but as the Saviour of the World. The Epiphany season continues right through until the beginning of Lent and the gospel readings follow Jesus’ early ministry. The afternoon readings continue a chronological tour through the scriptures; whilst the readings at Compline continue to work their way through Paul’s letter’s.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:
God, come to my assistance.
All:
Lord, make haste to help me.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


AFTERNOON PSALM

Psalm 54

For the choir director: A psalm of David, regarding the time the Ziphites came and said to Saul, “We know where David is hiding.” To be accompanied by stringed instruments.

Come with great power, O God, and rescue me!
    Defend me with your might.
Listen to my prayer, O God.
    Pay attention to my plea.
For strangers are attacking me;
    violent people are trying to kill me.
    They care nothing for God. Interlude

But God is my helper.
    The Lord keeps me alive!
May the evil plans of my enemies be turned against them.
    Do as you promised and put an end to them.

I will sacrifice a voluntary offering to you;
    I will praise your name, O Lord,
    for it is good.
For you have rescued me from my troubles
    and helped me to triumph over my enemies.

All:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


WORSHIP
(Optional)

All:
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


OLD TESTAMENT READING

Genesis 31:1-21

Jacob Runs Away

One day Jacob heard Laban’s sons talking. They said, “Jacob has taken everything our father owned, and in this way he has become rich.” Then Jacob noticed that Laban was not as friendly as he had been before. The Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land where your ancestors lived, and I will be with you.”

So Jacob told Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field where he kept his flocks. He said to them, “I have seen that your father is not as friendly with me as he used to be, but the God of my father has been with me. You both know that I have worked as hard as I could for your father, but he cheated me and changed my pay ten times. But God has not allowed your father to harm me. When Laban said, ‘You can have all the speckled animals as your pay,’ all the animals gave birth to speckled young ones. But when he said, ‘You can have all the streaked animals as your pay,’ all the flocks gave birth to streaked babies. So God has taken the animals away from your father and has given them to me.

“I had a dream during the season when the flocks were mating. I saw that the only male goats who were mating were streaked, speckled, or spotted. The angel of God spoke to me in that dream and said, ‘Jacob!’ I answered, ‘Yes!’ The angel said, ‘Look! Only the streaked, speckled, or spotted male goats are mating. I have seen all the wrong things Laban has been doing to you. I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel, where you poured olive oil on the stone you set up on end and where you made a promise to me. Now I want you to leave here and go back to the land where you were born.’”

Rachel and Leah answered Jacob, “Our father has nothing to give us when he dies. He has treated us like strangers. He sold us to you, and then he spent all of the money you paid for us. God took all this wealth from our father, and now it belongs to us and our children. So do whatever God has told you to do.”

So Jacob put his children and his wives on camels, and they began their journey back to Isaac, his father, in the land of Canaan. All the flocks of animals that Jacob owned walked ahead of them. He carried everything with him that he had gotten while he lived in Northwest Mesopotamia.

While Laban was gone to cut the wool from his sheep, Rachel stole the idols that belonged to him. And Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean by not telling him he was leaving. Jacob and his family left quickly, crossed the Euphrates River, and traveled toward the mountains of Gilead.

Reader:
The Word of the Lord.
All:
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection……


PRAYER

(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning. You may like to end with the following prayer…)

Reader:

Holy Father, we commit to you the work already done today,
Bless the work of our hands and forgive our many errors,
That we may we be empowered to serve you ever more fully. Amen

 

GRACE (Optional)

Reader:

Lord God, we thank you for your gift to us of this food;
Produce of earth, sky, many living beings, and much hard work.

May we eat with prayerfulness, gratitude and moderation;
With renewed minds and spirit-controlled appetites.

May we eat with compassion for those who hunger today,
And in such a way that reduces the suffering of all creatures;
Healing and preserving our precious planet.

Use this food to strengthen our bodies, revive our spirits,
Nurture our family and nourish our resolve;
That we may continue to serve all that lives with all our life. Amen


Psalms in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved

All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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