Friday, April 30, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Friday, April 30, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Friday, April 30, 2021
Psalm 22:25-31; Amos 8:11-13; Acts 8:9-25 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
If as believers we all serve the one true God, then why shouldn’t His love express itself in us through unity (Eph. 4:1–16)? It really should. Therefore, “be like-minded, live in peace” (2 Cor. 13:11).

Today’s Readings:
A Reading from the Book of Psalms
Psalm 22:25-31
All Shall Turn to the Lord


25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
      before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
      those who seek the Lord will praise him—
      may your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth
      will remember and turn to the Lord,
   and all the families of the nations
      will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
      and he rules over the nations.

29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
      all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
      those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
      future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
      declaring to a people yet unborn:
      He has done it!


Commentary
The Savior now speaks as risen from the dead. The first words of the complaint were used by Christ himself upon the cross; the first words of the triumph are expressly applied to him, Hebrews 2:12. All our praises must refer to the work of redemption. The suffering of the Redeemer was graciously accepted as a full satisfaction for sin. Though it was offered for sinful men, the Father did not despise or abhor it for our sake. This ought to be the matter of our thanksgiving. All humble, gracious souls should have a full satisfaction and happiness in him. Those that hunger and thirst after righteousness in Christ, shall not labor for that which satisfies not. Those that are much in praying, will be much in thanksgiving. Those that turn to God, will make conscience of worshipping before him. Let every tongue confess that he is Lord. High and low, rich and poor, bond and free, meet in Christ. Seeing we cannot keep alive our own souls, it is our wisdom, by obedient faith, to commit our souls to Christ, who is able to save and keep them alive for ever. A seed shall serve him. God will have a church in the world to the end of time. They shall be accounted to him for a generation; he will be the same to them that he was to those who went before them. His righteousness, and not any of their own, they shall declare to be the foundation of all their hopes, and the fountain of all their joys. Redemption by Christ is the Lord's own doing. Here we see the free love and compassion of God the Father, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, for us wretched sinners, as the source of all grace and consolation; the example we are to follow, the treatment as Christians we are to expect, and the conduct under it we are to adopt. Every lesson may here be learned that can profit the humbled soul. Let those who go about to establish their own righteousness inquire, why the beloved Son of God should thus suffer, if their own doings could atone for sin? Let the ungodly professor consider whether the Savior thus honored the Divine law, to purchase him the privilege of despising it. Let the careless take warning to flee from the wrath to come, and the trembling rest their hopes upon this merciful Redeemer. Let the tempted and distressed believer cheerfully expect a happy end of every trial.


A Reading from the Old Testament
Amos 8:11-13
A Famine of Hearing the Word of God


8:11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord,
      “when I will send a famine through the land—
   not a famine of food or a thirst for water,
      but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.
12 People will stagger from sea to sea
      and wander from north to east,
   searching for the word of the Lord,
      but they will not find it.

13 “In that day

   “the lovely young women and strong young men
      will faint because of thirst.


Commentary
Here was a token of God's highest displeasure. At any time, and most in a time of trouble, a famine of the word of God is the heaviest judgment. To many this is no affliction, yet some will feel it very much, and will travel far to hear a good sermon; they feel the loss of the mercies others foolishly sin away. But when God visits a backsliding church, their own plans and endeavors to find out a way of salvation, will stand them in no stead. And the most amiable and zealous would perish, for want of the water of life, which Christ only can bestow. Let us value our advantages, seek to profit by them, and fear sinning them away.


A Reading from the New Testament
Acts 8:9-25
Philip and Simon The Magician


8:9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. 12 But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.

14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

24 Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”

25 After they had further proclaimed the word of the Lord and testified about Jesus, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.

Commentary
Verses 9-13 — The people said of Simon, This man is the great power of God. See how ignorant and thoughtless people mistake. But how strong is the power of Divine grace, by which they were brought to Christ, who is Truth itself! The people not only gave heed to what Philip said, but were fully convinced that it was of God, and not of men, and gave up themselves to be directed thereby. Even bad men, and those whose hearts still go after covetousness, may come before God as his people come, and for a time continue with them. And many wonder at the proofs of Divine truths, who never experience their power. The gospel preached may have a common operation upon a soul, where it never produced inward holiness. All are not savingly converted who profess to believe the gospel.

Verses 14-25 — The Holy Ghost was as yet fallen upon none of these coverts, in the extraordinary powers conveyed by the descent of the Spirit upon the day of Pentecost. We may take encouragement from this example, in praying to God to give the renewing graces of the Holy Ghost to all for whose spiritual welfare we are concerned; for that includes all blessings. No man can give the Holy Spirit by the laying on of his hands; but we should use our best endeavors to instruct those for whom we pray. Simon Magus was ambitious to have the honor of an apostle, but cared not at all to have the spirit and disposition of a Christian. He was more desirous to gain honor to himself, than to do good to others. Peter shows him his crime. He esteemed the wealth of this world, as if it would answer for things relating to the other life, and would purchase the pardon of sin, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and eternal life. This was such a condemning error as could by no means consist with a state of grace. Our hearts are what they are in the sight of God, who cannot be deceived. And if they are not right in his sight, our religion is vain, and will stand us in no stead. A proud and covetous heart cannot be right with God. It is possible for a man to continue under the power of sin, yet to put on a form of godliness. When tempted with money to do evil, see what a perishing thing money is, and scorn it. Think not that Christianity is a trade to live by in this world. There is much wickedness in the thought of the heart, its false notions, and corrupt affections, and wicked projects, which must be repented of, or we are undone. But it shall be forgiven, upon our repentance. The doubt here is of the sincerity of Simon's repentance, not of his pardon, if his repentance was sincere. Grant us, Lord, another sort of faith than that which made Simon wonder only, and did not sanctify his heart. May we abhor all thoughts of making religion serve the purposes of pride or ambition. And keep us from that subtle poison of spiritual pride, which seeks glory to itself even from humility. May we seek only the honor which comes from God.



The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible. The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org

The Morning Prayer for Friday, April 30, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Friday, April 30, 2021


He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
Luke 22:41-42 (NIV)

Dear Father in heaven, we lift our eyes to you. You allow earthly events to follow their own course, and even your own Son had to suffer and die. But your plan is already prepared and you will act in our time according to your will. We pray, “Your will be done, your will!” In the midst of all the suffering let your love be revealed in many places, wherever it is possible for people to understand it. You have always protected us; protect us still. You have done much for us and we want to praise your name. We want to be people who always acknowledge you and praise you, for you will never let any be lost who hope in you. Be with us this night, help us, and send us the strength we need to serve you, also in our everyday life. Amen.

Bible Verse of the Day for Friday, April 30, 2021

 

Bible Verse of the Day
Friday, April 30, 2021


Ephesians 4:15
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
If as believers we all serve the one true God, then why shouldn’t His love express itself in us through unity (Eph. 4:1–16)? It really should. Therefore, “be like-minded, live in peace” (2 Cor. 13:11).

Read all of Ephesians 4

Listen to Ephesians 4


Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®

Thursday, April 29, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Thursday, April 29, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Thursday, April 29, 2021
Psalm 22:25-31; Amos 8:1-7; Acts 8:1b-8 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
Job was a good and righteous man who walked in the ways of the Lord. In fact, his righteousness prompted God to say of him, “
There is no one on earth like him” (Job 1:8). God blessed Job for his righteousness, and so Job earned the title, “the greatest man among all the people of the East” (1:3).

Yet Job endured unspeakable suffering. Though he had done nothing wrong, he lost everything—his family, his wealth, his reputation, even his health. If that weren’t enough, his wife and his friends offered him no real comfort. Job’s friends told him that he had suffered because of some hidden sin in his life.

Job is a stark biblical example of a fact we need to understand: even those who are right with God will suffer. Will we allow the suffering to tear down our faith or build it up? These are our only choices. Job chose to trust God, his Redeemer, and he was rewarded for his faith (Job 19:25, 26; 42:1–6, 10–17).


Today’s Readings:
A Reading from the Book of Psalms
Psalm 22:25-31
All Shall Turn to the Lord


25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
      before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
      those who seek the Lord will praise him—
      may your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth
      will remember and turn to the Lord,
   and all the families of the nations
      will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
      and he rules over the nations.

29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
      all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
      those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
      future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
      declaring to a people yet unborn:
      He has done it!


Commentary
The Savior now speaks as risen from the dead. The first words of the complaint were used by Christ himself upon the cross; the first words of the triumph are expressly applied to him, Hebrews 2:12. All our praises must refer to the work of redemption. The suffering of the Redeemer was graciously accepted as a full satisfaction for sin. Though it was offered for sinful men, the Father did not despise or abhor it for our sake. This ought to be the matter of our thanksgiving. All humble, gracious souls should have a full satisfaction and happiness in him. Those that hunger and thirst after righteousness in Christ, shall not labor for that which satisfies not. Those that are much in praying, will be much in thanksgiving. Those that turn to God, will make conscience of worshipping before him. Let every tongue confess that he is Lord. High and low, rich and poor, bond and free, meet in Christ. Seeing we cannot keep alive our own souls, it is our wisdom, by obedient faith, to commit our souls to Christ, who is able to save and keep them alive for ever. A seed shall serve him. God will have a church in the world to the end of time. They shall be accounted to him for a generation; he will be the same to them that he was to those who went before them. His righteousness, and not any of their own, they shall declare to be the foundation of all their hopes, and the fountain of all their joys. Redemption by Christ is the Lord's own doing. Here we see the free love and compassion of God the Father, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, for us wretched sinners, as the source of all grace and consolation; the example we are to follow, the treatment as Christians we are to expect, and the conduct under it we are to adopt. Every lesson may here be learned that can profit the humbled soul. Let those who go about to establish their own righteousness inquire, why the beloved Son of God should thus suffer, if their own doings could atone for sin? Let the ungodly professor consider whether the Savior thus honored the Divine law, to purchase him the privilege of despising it. Let the careless take warning to flee from the wrath to come, and the trembling rest their hopes upon this merciful Redeemer. Let the tempted and distressed believer cheerfully expect a happy end of every trial.


A Reading from the Old Testament
Amos 8:1-7
Amos’ Vision of the Basket of Fruit


8:1 This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: a basket of ripe fruit. 2 “What do you see, Amos?” he asked.

“A basket of ripe fruit,” I answered.

Then the Lord said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.

3 “In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “the songs in the temple will turn to wailing. Many, many bodies—flung everywhere! Silence!”

4 Hear this, you who trample the needy
     and do away with the poor of the land,

5 saying,

  “When will the New Moon be over
     that we may sell grain,
  and the Sabbath be ended
     that we may market wheat?”—
  skimping on the measure,
     boosting the price
     and cheating with dishonest scales,
6 buying the poor with silver
     and the needy for a pair of sandals,
     selling even the sweepings with the wheat.

7 The Lord has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done.

Commentary
Verses 1-3 — Amos saw a basket of summer fruit gathered, and ready to be eaten; which signified, that the people were ripe for destruction, that the year of God's patience was drawing towards a conclusion. Such summer fruits will not keep till winter, but must be used at once. Yet these judgments shall not draw from them any acknowledgement, either of God's righteousness or their own unrighteousness. Sinners put off repentance from day to day, because they think the Lord thus delays his judgments.

Verses 4-7 — The rich and powerful of the land were the most guilty of oppression, as well as the foremost in idolatry. They were weary of the restraints of the sabbaths and the new moons, and wished them over, because no common work might be done therein. This is the character of many who are called Christians. The sabbath day and sabbath work are a burden to carnal hearts. It will either be profaned or be accounted a dull day. But can we spend our time better than in communion with God? When employed in religious services, they were thinking of marketings. They were weary of holy duties, because their worldly business stood still the while. Those are strangers to God, and enemies to themselves, who love market days better than sabbath days, who would rather be selling corn than worshipping God. They have no regard to man: those who have lost the savor of piety, will not long keep the sense of common honesty. They cheat those they deal with. They take advantage of their neighbor's ignorance or necessity, in a traffic which nearly concerns the laboring poor. Could we witness the fraud and covetousness, which, in such numerous forms, render trading an abomination to the Lord, we should not wonder to see many dealers backward in the service of God. But he who thus despises the poor, reproaches his Maker; as it regards Him, rich and poor meet together. Riches that are got by the ruin of the poor, will bring ruin on those that get them. God will remember their sin against them.


A Reading from the New Testament
Acts 8:1b-8
Philip’s Ministry in Samaria


8:1b On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.

4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.

Commentary
Verses 1-4 — Though persecution must not drive us from our work, yet it may send us to work elsewhere. Wherever the established believer is driven, he carries the knowledge of the gospel, and makes known the preciousness of Christ in every place. Where a simple desire of doing good influences the heart, it will be found impossible to shut a man out from all opportunities of usefulness.

Verses 5-8 — As far as the gospel prevails, evil spirits are dislodged, particularly unclean spirits. All inclinations to the lusts of the flesh which war against the soul are such. Distempers are here named, the most difficult to be cured by the course of nature, and most expressive of the disease of sin. Pride, ambition, and desire after grandeur have always caused abundance of mischief, both to the world and to the church. The people said of Simon, This man is the great power of God. See how ignorant and thoughtless people mistake. But how strong is the power of Divine grace, by which they were brought to Christ, who is Truth itself! The people not only gave heed to what Philip said, but were fully convinced that it was of God, and not of men, and gave up themselves to be directed thereby. Even bad men, and those whose hearts still go after covetousness, may come before God as his people come, and for a time continue with them. And many wonder at the proofs of Divine truths, who never experience their power. The gospel preached may have a common operation upon a soul, where it never produced inward holiness. All are not savingly converted who profess to believe the gospel.



The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible. The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org

The Morning Prayer for Thursday, April 29, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Thursday, April 29, 2021


The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 9:9–10 (NIV)

Lord our God, we look to you in our many needs, in the distress of our hearts, in the anguish of the whole world. We beseech you, let light come to your people everywhere on earth to bring them your help and your victory. Remember the wretched, the sick, the poor. Let your living strength come to them so that they can bear their sufferings and hold out joyfully to the end. Remember us all, O Lord our God, for we all need you. We are weak and poor and cannot go forward alone. Your Spirit must help us. May the Savior come to us, and may his grace and his power be born in our hearts. Amen.

Bible Verse of the Day for Thursday, April 29, 2021

 

Bible Verse of the Day
Thursday, April 29, 2021


Job 19:25
I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
Job was a good and righteous man who walked in the ways of the Lord. In fact, his righteousness prompted God to say of him, “There is no one on earth like him” (Job 1:8). God blessed Job for his righteousness, and so Job earned the title, “the greatest man among all the people of the East” (1:3).

Yet Job endured unspeakable suffering. Though he had done nothing wrong, he lost everything—his family, his wealth, his reputation, even his health. If that weren’t enough, his wife and his friends offered him no real comfort. Job’s friends told him that he had suffered because of some hidden sin in his life.

Job is a stark biblical example of a fact we need to understand: even those who are right with God will suffer. Will we allow the suffering to tear down our faith or build it up? These are our only choices. Job chose to trust God, his Redeemer, and he was rewarded for his faith (Job 19:25, 26; 42:1–6, 10–17).


Read all of Job 19

Listen to Job 19

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Wednesday, April 28, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Psalm 95; Micah 7:8-20; Mark 14:26-31 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
The Lord Jesus left His magnificent throne in heaven—where He is surrounded with praise and worship—and chose the limitation, suffering, and lowliness of a human body just so He could save us and show us His great love. Hebrews 2:17 tells us, “He
had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest.” In other words, He became like us to understand us. Because that is the way He best comforts and provides for us in all things (Heb. 4:14–16).

Today’s Readings:
A Reading from the Book of Psalms
Psalm 95
We Are The Sheep Of God’s Hand


1 Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
     let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
     and extol him with music and song.

3 For the Lord is the great God,
     the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
     and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
     and his hands formed the dry land.

6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
     let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
7 for he is our God
     and we are the people of his pasture,
     the flock under his care.

  Today, if only you would hear his voice,
8 “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
     as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested me;
     they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with that generation;
      I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
      and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
      ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”


Commentary
Verses 1-7 — Whenever we come into God's presence, we must come with thanksgiving. The Lord is to be praised; we do not want matter, it were well if we did not want a heart. How great is that God, whose the whole earth is, and the fullness thereof; who directs and disposes of all!, The Lord Jesus, whom we are here taught to praise, is a great God; the mighty God is one of his titles, and God over all, blessed for evermore. To him all power is given, both in heaven and earth. He is our God, and we should praise him. He is our Savior, and the Author of our blessedness. The gospel church is his flock, Christ is the great and good Shepherd of believers; he sought them when lost, and brought them to his fold.

Verses 7-11 — Christ calls upon his people to hear his voice. You call him Master, or Lord; then be his willing, obedient people. Hear the voice of his doctrine, of his law, and in both, of his Spirit: hear and heed; hear and yield. Christ's voice must be heard to-day. This day of opportunity will not last always; improve it while it is called to-day. Hearing the voice of Christ is the same with believing. Hardness of heart is at the bottom of all distrust of the Lord. The sins of others ought to be warnings to us not to tread in their steps. The murmurings of Israel were written for our admonition. God is not subject to such passions as we are; but he is very angry at sin and sinners. That certainly is evil, which deserves such a recompense; and his threatenings are as sure as his promises. Let us be aware of the evils of our hearts, which lead us to wander from the Lord. There is a rest ordained for believers, the rest of everlasting refreshment, begun in this life, and perfected in the life to come. This is the rest which God calls his rest.


A Reading from the Old Testament
Micah 7:8-20
God Will Shepherd The People


8 Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
     Though I have fallen, I will rise.
  Though I sit in darkness,
     the Lord will be my light.
9 Because I have sinned against him,
     I will bear the Lord’s wrath,
  until he pleads my case
     and upholds my cause.
  He will bring me out into the light;
     I will see his righteousness.
10 Then my enemy will see it
      and will be covered with shame,
   she who said to me,
      “Where is the Lord your God?”
   My eyes will see her downfall;
      even now she will be trampled underfoot
      like mire in the streets.

11 The day for building your walls will come,
      the day for extending your boundaries.
12 In that day people will come to you
      from Assyria and the cities of Egypt,
   even from Egypt to the Euphrates
      and from sea to sea
      and from mountain to mountain.
13 The earth will become desolate because of its inhabitants,
      as the result of their deeds.

14 Shepherd your people with your staff,
      the flock of your inheritance,
   which lives by itself in a forest,
      in fertile pasturelands.
   Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead
      as in days long ago.

15 “As in the days when you came out of Egypt,
      I will show them my wonders.”

16 Nations will see and be ashamed,
      deprived of all their power.
   They will put their hands over their mouths
      and their ears will become deaf.
17 They will lick dust like a snake,
      like creatures that crawl on the ground.
   They will come trembling out of their dens;
      they will turn in fear to the Lord our God
      and will be afraid of you.
18 Who is a God like you,
      who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
      of the remnant of his inheritance?
   You do not stay angry forever
      but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
      you will tread our sins underfoot
      and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
20 You will be faithful to Jacob,
      and show love to Abraham,
   as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
      in days long ago.


Commentary
Verses 8-13 — Those truly penitent for sin, will see great reason to be patient under affliction. When we complain to the Lord of the badness of the times, we ought to complain against ourselves for the badness of our hearts. We must depend upon God to work deliverance for us in due time. We must not only look to him, but look for him. In our greatest distresses, we shall see no reason to despair of salvation, if by faith we look to the Lord as the God of our salvation. Though enemies triumph and insult, they shall be silenced and put to shame. Though Zion's walls may long be in ruins, there will come a day when they shall be repaired. Israel shall come from all the remote parts, not turning back for discouragements. Though our enemies may seem to prevail against us, and to rejoice over us, we should not despond. Though cast down, we are not destroyed; we may join hope in God's mercy, with submission to his correction. No hindrances can prevent the favors the Lord intends for his church.

Verses 14-20 — When God is about to deliver his people, he stirs up their friends to pray for them. Apply spiritually the prophet's prayer to Christ, to take care of his church, as the great Shepherd of the sheep, and to go before them, while they are here in this world as in a wood, in this world but not of it. God promises in answer to this prayer, he will do that for them which shall be repeating the miracles of former ages. As their sin brought them into bondage, so God's pardoning their sin brought them out. All who find pardoning mercy, cannot but wonder at that mercy; we have reason to stand amazed, if we know what it is. When the Lord takes away the guilt of sin, that it may not condemn us, he will break the power of sin, that it may not have dominion over us. If left to ourselves, our sins will be too hard for us; but God's grace shall be sufficient to subdue them, so that they shall not rule us, and then they shall not ruin us. When God forgives sin, he takes care that it never shall be remembered any more against the sinner. He casts their sins into the sea; not near the shore-side, where they may appear again, but into the depth of the sea, never to rise again. All their sins shall be cast there, for when God forgives sin, he forgives all. He will perfect that which concerns us, and with this good work will do all for us which our case requires, and which he has promised. These engagements relate to Christ, and the success of the gospel to the end of time, the future restoration of Israel, and the final prevailing of true religion in all lands. The Lord will perform his truth and mercy, not one jot or tittle of it shall fall to the ground: faithful is He that has promised, who also will do it. Let us remember that the Lord has given the security of his covenant, for strong consolation to all who flee for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before them in Christ Jesus.


A Reading from the New Testament
Mark 14:26-31
Christ The Shepherd


14:26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

27 “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written:
“‘I will strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep will be scattered.’
28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

29 Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”

30 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”

31 But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.

Commentary
Though the great Shepherd passed through his sufferings without one false step, yet his followers often have been scattered by the small measure of sufferings allotted to them. How very apt we are to think well of ourselves, and to trust our own hearts! It was ill done of Peter thus to answer his Master, and not with fear and trembling. Lord, give me grace to keep me from denying thee.



The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible. The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org

The Morning Prayer for Wednesday, April 28, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Wednesday, April 28, 2021


You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:11 (NIV)

Dear Father in heaven, you show us the way of life; in your presence is fullness of joy, and at your right hand is delight forever. In your presence we want to rejoice together as your children, under your protection. May we become firm in every part of our life on earth. Grant that soon something of your kingdom, of your heaven, may encircle us like a blessing, enabling us to fight on in joy and exultation. We entrust ourselves to you, our faithful and loving God, and we thank you. Amen.

Bible Verse of the Day for Wednesday, April 28, 2021

 

Bible Verse of the Day
Wednesday, April 28, 2021


Philippians 2:5-8
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
The Lord Jesus left His magnificent throne in heaven—where He is surrounded with praise and worship—and chose the limitation, suffering, and lowliness of a human body just so He could save us and show us His great love. Hebrews 2:17 tells us, “He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest.” In other words, He became like us to understand us. Because that is the way He best comforts and provides for us in all things (Heb. 4:14–16).

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Tuesday, April 27, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Psalm 95; 1 Chronicles 11:1-9; Revelation 7:13-17 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
The Lord does not merely provide us with an example of godly living, but makes it possible for us to enjoy an intimate relationship with Himself. All of us “have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), which means that we are all lost. Yet Christ came to earth to save us (John 3:16–18). He did for us what we could never do on our own (Rom. 5:1, 2).

Today’s Readings:
A Reading from the Book of Psalms
Psalm 95
We Are The Sheep Of God’s Hand


1 Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
     let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
     and extol him with music and song.

3 For the Lord is the great God,
     the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
     and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
     and his hands formed the dry land.

6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
     let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
7 for he is our God
     and we are the people of his pasture,
     the flock under his care.

  Today, if only you would hear his voice,
8 “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
     as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested me;
     they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with that generation;
      I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
      and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
      ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”


Commentary
Verses 1-7 — Whenever we come into God's presence, we must come with thanksgiving. The Lord is to be praised; we do not want matter, it were well if we did not want a heart. How great is that God, whose the whole earth is, and the fullness thereof; who directs and disposes of all!, The Lord Jesus, whom we are here taught to praise, is a great God; the mighty God is one of his titles, and God over all, blessed for evermore. To him all power is given, both in heaven and earth. He is our God, and we should praise him. He is our Savior, and the Author of our blessedness. The gospel church is his flock, Christ is the great and good Shepherd of believers; he sought them when lost, and brought them to his fold.

Verses 7-11 — Christ calls upon his people to hear his voice. You call him Master, or Lord; then be his willing, obedient people. Hear the voice of his doctrine, of his law, and in both, of his Spirit: hear and heed; hear and yield. Christ's voice must be heard to-day. This day of opportunity will not last always; improve it while it is called to-day. Hearing the voice of Christ is the same with believing. Hardness of heart is at the bottom of all distrust of the Lord. The sins of others ought to be warnings to us not to tread in their steps. The murmurings of Israel were written for our admonition. God is not subject to such passions as we are; but he is very angry at sin and sinners. That certainly is evil, which deserves such a recompense; and his threatenings are as sure as his promises. Let us be aware of the evils of our hearts, which lead us to wander from the Lord. There is a rest ordained for believers, the rest of everlasting refreshment, begun in this life, and perfected in the life to come. This is the rest which God calls his rest.


A Reading from the Old Testament
1 Chronicles 11:1-9
The Shepherd David Made King


11:1 All Israel came together to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. 2 In the past, even while Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord your God said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’”

3 When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, he made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel, as the Lord had promised through Samuel.

4 David and all the Israelites marched to Jerusalem (that is, Jebus). The Jebusites who lived there 5 said to David, “You will not get in here.” Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David.

6 David had said, “Whoever leads the attack on the Jebusites will become commander-in-chief.” Joab son of Zeruiah went up first, and so he received the command.

7 David then took up residence in the fortress, and so it was called the City of David. 8 He built up the city around it, from the terraces to the surrounding wall, while Joab restored the rest of the city. 9 And David became more and more powerful, because the Lord Almighty was with him.

Commentary
David was brought to possess the throne of Israel after he had reigned seven years in Hebron, over Judah only. God's counsels will be fulfilled at last, whatever difficulties lie in the way. The way to be truly great, is to be really useful, to devote all our talents to the Lord.


A Reading from the New Testament
Revelation 7:13-17
The Lamb Will Be The Shepherd


7:13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”

14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”

And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore,

   “they are before the throne of God
      and serve him day and night in his temple;
   and he who sits on the throne
      will shelter them with his presence.
16 ‘Never again will they hunger;
      never again will they thirst.
   The sun will not beat down on them,’
      nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
      will be their shepherd;
   ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
      ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”


Commentary
Faithful Christians deserve our notice and respect; we should mark the upright. Those who would gain knowledge, must not be ashamed to seek instruction from any who can give it. The way to heaven is through many tribulations; but tribulation, how great soever, shall not separate us from the love of God. Tribulation makes heaven more welcome and more glorious. It is not the blood of the martyrs, but the blood of the Lamb, that can wash away sin, and make the soul pure and clean in the sight of God; other blood stains, this is the only blood that makes the robes of the saints white and clean. They are happy in their employment; heaven is a state of service, though not of suffering; it is a state of rest, but not of sloth; it is a praising, delightful rest. They have had sorrows, and shed many tears on account of sin and affliction; but God himself, with his own gracious hand, will wipe those tears away. He deals with them as a tender father. This should support the Christian under all his troubles. As all the redeemed owe their happiness wholly to sovereign mercy; so the work and worship of God their Savior is their element; his presence and favor complete their happiness, nor can they conceive of any other joy. To Him may all his people come; from him they receive every needed grace; and to him let them offer all praise and glory.



The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible. The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org

The Morning Prayer for Tuesday, April 27, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Tuesday, April 27, 2021


You answered me when I called to you; with your strength you strengthened me.
Psalm 138:3 (GNT)

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that we are your children and that your eyes watch over us and see all that is in our hearts. You hear the request of each heart, and you will answer at the right time. Stretch out your strong hand to us, for we are weak and often heavy-hearted, not knowing what to do nor how to find you. But you are with us in every need in spite of all our faults and shortcomings. You are with us; you lead us through everything to our life’s true goal, until each of us can rejoice over all you have done, to the praise of your name, our Father. Amen.

Bible Verse of the Day for Tuesday, April 27, 2021

 

Bible Verse of the Day
Tuesday, April 27, 2021


Luke 19:10
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
The Lord does not merely provide us with an example of godly living, but makes it possible for us to enjoy an intimate relationship with Himself. All of us “have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), which means that we are all lost. Yet Christ came to earth to save us (John 3:16–18). He did for us what we could never do on our own (Rom. 5:1, 2).

Read all of Luke 19

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Monday, April 26, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Monday, April 26, 2021

 

The Daily Bible Readings
Monday, April 26, 2021
Psalm 95; 1 Samuel 16:1-13; 1 Peter 5:1-5 (NIV)
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
As the high priest went before God to make atonement for their sins, the Israelites always felt uncertain about whether he would succeed. Small bells on the hem of his garments indicated whether he had survived being in God’s holy presence. If the bells stopped ringing, the people knew that the priest had died, thus failing to make the acceptable sacrifice. Thankfully, there is never a question about whether we are accepted. Jesus Christ always represents us perfectly before the throne of God.

Today’s Readings:
A Reading from the Book of Psalms
Psalm 95
We Are the Sheep of God’s Hand


1 Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
     let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
     and extol him with music and song.

3 For the Lord is the great God,
     the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
     and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
     and his hands formed the dry land.

6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
     let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
7 for he is our God
     and we are the people of his pasture,
     the flock under his care.

  Today, if only you would hear his voice,
8 “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
     as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested me;
     they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with that generation;
      I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
      and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
      ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”


Commentary
Verses 1-7 — Whenever we come into God's presence, we must come with thanksgiving. The Lord is to be praised; we do not want matter, it were well if we did not want a heart. How great is that God, whose the whole earth is, and the fullness thereof; who directs and disposes of all!, The Lord Jesus, whom we are here taught to praise, is a great God; the mighty God is one of his titles, and God over all, blessed for evermore. To him all power is given, both in heaven and earth. He is our God, and we should praise him. He is our Savior, and the Author of our blessedness. The gospel church is his flock, Christ is the great and good Shepherd of believers; he sought them when lost, and brought them to his fold.

Verses 7-11 — Christ calls upon his people to hear his voice. You call him Master, or Lord; then be his willing, obedient people. Hear the voice of his doctrine, of his law, and in both, of his Spirit: hear and heed; hear and yield. Christ's voice must be heard to-day. This day of opportunity will not last always; improve it while it is called to-day. Hearing the voice of Christ is the same with believing. Hardness of heart is at the bottom of all distrust of the Lord. The sins of others ought to be warnings to us not to tread in their steps. The murmurings of Israel were written for our admonition. God is not subject to such passions as we are; but he is very angry at sin and sinners. That certainly is evil, which deserves such a recompense; and his threatenings are as sure as his promises. Let us be aware of the evils of our hearts, which lead us to wander from the Lord. There is a rest ordained for believers, the rest of everlasting refreshment, begun in this life, and perfected in the life to come. This is the rest which God calls his rest.


A Reading from the Old Testament
1 Samuel 16:1-13
The Shepherd David is Anointed


16:1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’
3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”

4 Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”

5 Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” 9 Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

Commentary
Verses 1-5 — It appears that Saul was grown very wicked. Of what would he not be guilty, who durst think to kill Samuel? The elders of Bethlehem trembled at Samuel's coming. It becomes us to stand in awe of God's messengers, and to tremble at his word. His answer was, I come peaceably, for I come to sacrifice. When our Lord Jesus came into the world, though men had reason to fear that his errand was to condemn the world, yet he gave full assurance that he came peaceably, for he came to sacrifice, and he brought his offering with him; A body hast thou prepared me. Let us sanctify ourselves, and depend upon His sacrifice.

Verses 6-13 — It was strange that Samuel, who had been so disappointed in Saul, whose countenance and stature recommended him, should judge of another man by that rule. We can tell how men look, but God can tell what they are. He judges of men by the heart. We often form a mistaken judgment of characters; but the Lord values only the faith, fear, and love, which are planted in the heart, beyond human discernment. And God does not favor our children according to our fond partiality, but often most honors and blesses those who have been least regarded. David at length was pitched upon. He was the youngest of the sons of Jesse; his name signifies Beloved; he was a type of God's beloved Son. It should seem, David was least set by of all the sons of Jesse. But the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. His anointing was not an empty ceremony, a Divine power went with that instituted sign; he found himself advanced in wisdom and courage, with all the qualifications of a prince, though not advanced in his outward circumstances. This would satisfy him that his election was of God. The best evidence of our being predestinated to the kingdom of glory, is, our being sealed with the Spirit of promise, and experience of a work of grace in our hearts.


A Reading from the New Testament
1 Peter 5:1-5
Christ the Great Shepherd


5:1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”
Commentary

The apostle Peter does not command, but exhorts. He does not claim power to rule over all pastors and churches. It was the peculiar honor of Peter and a few more, to be witnesses of Christ's sufferings; but it is the privilege of all true Christians to partake of the glory that shall be revealed. These poor, dispersed, suffering Christians, were the flock of God, redeemed to God by the great Shepherd, living in holy love and communion, according to the will of God. They are also dignified with the title of God's heritage or clergy; his peculiar lot, chosen for his own people, to enjoy his special favor, and to do him special service. Christ is the chief Shepherd of the whole flock and heritage of God. And all faithful ministers will receive a crown of unfading glory, infinitely better and more honorable than all the authority, wealth, and pleasure of the world.



The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible. The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org

The Morning Prayer for Monday, April 26, 2021

 

The Morning Prayer
Monday, April 26, 2021


How good it is to give thanks to you, O Lord, to sing in your honor, O Most High God, to proclaim your constant love every morning and your faithfulness every night.
Psalm 92:1-2 (GNT)

We thank you, Lord our God. How much good you have poured out on us throughout our lives! And how much we should thank you every day! We thank you that again and again we feel your help and know that you can fill our earthly life with what is of heaven. May your kingdom come over the whole world, for all people are longing for faith and for mercy and are to be gathered into your house under the staff of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Watch over us during the night. May your help go far and wide into the whole world. Stand by those who call upon you, even when they do not understand how they should pray. Help us and grant that the Savior may come, to the glory of your name. Amen.