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By grace, you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2.8-9
Loving and righteous God, your boundless generosity exceeds all that we can desire or deserve, and you give to the last worker all you promised to the first: liberate us from all jealousy and greed, that we may be free to love and serve others, and in your service may find our true reward; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A reading from the book Exodus. 16.2-15
The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” 4Then the LORD said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. 5On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.” 6So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 7and in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your complaining against the LORD. For what are we, that you complain against us?” 8And Moses said, “When the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the LORD has heard the complaining that you utter against him – what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the LORD.” 9Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the LORD, for he has heard your complaining.’” 10And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. 11The LORD spoke to Moses and said, 12 “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.’” 13In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.”
Hear the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Psalm 105.1-6, 37-45
1 O give thanks to the Lord and call upon his name: tell among the peoples what things he has done.
2 Sing to him, O sing praises: and be telling of all his marvellous works.
3 Exult in his holy name: and let those that seek the Lord be joyful in heart.
4 Seek the Lord and his strength: O seek his face continually.
5 Call to mind what wonders he has done: his marvellous acts, and the judgements of his mouth,
6 O seed of Abraham his servant: O children of Jacob his chosen one.
37 He brought Israel out with silver and with gold: and not one among their tribes was seen to stumble.
38 Egypt was glad at their going: for dread of Israel had fallen upon them.
39 He spread out a cloud for a covering: and fire to lighten the night.
40 The people asked, and he brought them quails: and satisfied them with the bread from heaven.
41 He opened a rock, so that the waters gushed: and ran in the parched land like a river.
42 For he had remembered his holy word: that he gave to Abraham his servant.
43 So he led out his people with rejoicing: his chosen ones with shouts of joy;
44 He gave them the land of the nations: and they took possession of the fruit for which other peoples had toiled,
45 So that they might keep his statutes: and faithfully obey his laws. O praise the Lord.
A reading from the letter to the Philippians. 1.21-30
For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. 23 I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.
25 Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, 26 so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.
27 Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, 28 and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. 29 For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well—
30 since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
May your word live in us.
And bear much fruit to your glory.
The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew, chapter 20, beginning at verse 1.
Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; 4 and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. 5 When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. 6 And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ 8 When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ 9 When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 11 And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner,
12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14 Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
For the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Hello dear friends,
In the last 3 weeks, we explore different ways to connect with our wonderful living and beautiful God. This week let use plots more methods to feel His amazing presence. Amen!
Some people would like to connect with God through solitude, quiet time, and simplicity.
Please meditate on psalm 91:1
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Here are some interesting ways to feel God’s presence in solitude:
Rise up early in the morning for prayer in the stillness of the first hours of the day.
Create daily rhythms that center your heart on the Lord Jesus; this can include saying a prayer as soon as you open your eyes, reciting a specific passage each day as you dress, reading from a devotional book at every lunch, etc
Practice silence by not speaking AND silencing the soundtrack in your mind
Fast from food and use meal times to pray
Clean out a closet and donate items to a relief organization
Practice “heart cleaning” where you ask the Holy Spirit to reveal sins that you’ve harbored in your heart and you repent of them
Practice solitude on a regular basis, getting away from people, phones, social media, and chores for a quiet respite to “be still and know that [He is] God” (Psalm 46:10)
Spend time on a night watch, staying up a portion (or all) of the night to focus on prayer, repentance, thanksgiving, and listening to God.
Practice generosity by donating and supporting the organisations that help people in need and defend justice and love.
Go to a regular silent retreat, where you can spend time with God and not talk to people. Also, a very good practice to hear God’s small still voice.,
As you try these new ways to connect and love the Lord I pray that you would strongly feel His presence in your lives. I pray you will hear His voice guiding and directing you. May Our living God travels to you in both big and small ways how much He loves you. Amen in Jesus' matchless name.
Revd. Valentina Emmanuel