5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. 6 So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. 8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8.5-9)
“Without [the Spirit] you can do nothing. It is the Spirit of God who raises dead sinners at first into a divine life, and he puts all the languid springs of life into new motion… [It is] he who awakens our fear, who excites our hopes, who kindles our love and desire to things holy and heavenly and [it is] he who exalts our spiritual joys.” (Isaac Watts, Discourses of the Love of God, p. 273)
Let’s pray: Lord, influence me through your Spirit. May the breath of your Spirit blow through me, that your love in me would be rekindled. May I have a burning passion for things that are holy and heavenly. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s sing “Holy Spirit” (Brian & Katie Torwalt). Click here.
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. […] 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18.10, 21-22)
“Matthew 18:10-14 addresses how we view those that God cherishes. They are his little ones, his sheep worth finding, who he is happy to bring back from going astray. He is not willing that they should perish. Their angels always see the face of the Father in heaven. We must watch ourselves—see that—we do not despise—but rather see God’s little ones as he does. This is our starting point for all that follows.
“In Matthew 18:21-22, it seems to be dawning on Peter that this kind of life then will mean there will be much forgiveness going on within the body of Christ. Just how many times is adequate before you ‘give up’ on someone? Or just how much sin is too much?” (Brenda Rapp)
Let’s pray: Father, help me to love my brothers and sisters with your love; to see them as you do, to cherish them as you do. Out of love for you, may I freely forgive any offenses. May your Spirit help me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s sing “Living Hope” (Phil Wickham). Click here.
27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11.27-30)
“Jesus offers a new invitation to ‘soul rest,’ a rest deeper than just a physical or mental break. Jesus speaks of a life that is at rest—which speaks to the purpose and plan of God for his people. He desires us to come alongside him, to be yoked with him in his direction, to bear his burden and find that it is a lighter load than we could imagine.” (P. Nate)
Lord, thank you for inviting me into your true rest. I need this so much. You are the only one who can truly restore my soul. To rest in you, to trust your purpose and plans for me, this is where I belong. Jesus, I want to learn from you, to be gentle and humble in heart. In Your name, amen.
Let’s sing “Invitacion Fountain” (Michael J. Pritzl). Click here.
11 “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.” (Deuteronomy 30:11-4 NIV)
“This is the message that Moses gave the Israelites as an instruction on how to return and remain in God’s purpose and plan—where his favor, compassion, and blessing are to be their experienced reality. However, all this blessing and favor was contingent upon their obedience to the Lord… This understanding of God’s word being in our mouths and in our hearts has the echo of Ezekiel 36 and Jeremiah 31… where God’s word will be written upon our hearts by the very finger of God. Hence our obedience to the Lord is not based upon our abilities or willpower, but upon the obedience to God’s word that has been written upon our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” (P. Gus)
Let’s pray: Father God, we proclaim, “Jesus is Lord”! Help us to remain in your purpose and plan. We trust in your Spirit who dwells in us. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s sing “In Christ Alone” (K. Getty and S. Townend) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=est8VHSaJcE
Let’s read aloud together the following passage, confession and prayer:
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12.9-12 NIV)
29b “‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12.29b-31)
Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people, that bringing forth in abundance the fruit of good works, they may be abundantly rewarded when our Savior Jesus Christ comes to restore all things; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (The Book of Common Prayer, 2019)
Lord, we belong entirely to you, body and soul. Let every part of our being praise you, our Creator, our heavenly Father. Our lives are not our own, for you have redeemed us. Fill us now with your Spirit, empowering us to do your will. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s sing “Consuming Fire” (Tim Hughes). Click here.