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Acts 9:36-43Restored to Life AgainRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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In Joppa there lived a disciple named Tabitha (Dorcas) who was full of good works and acts of charity. When she became ill and died, she was washed and laid in an upper room. Peter was summoned by disciples of Jesus who lived in Joppa to come from Lydda (where Peter was, a town close by) without delay. Peter went with them, and arriving there he put the mourners outside, knelt down and prayed. Upon turning to the body, he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And Dorcas opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. Peter gave her his hand, and raised her up. After calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive to them. This miracle of God’s power became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
Revelation 5:11-14Worthy is the LambRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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As John received the revelation of Jesus’ glory in the Apocalypse, at one moment he looked, and he heard around the throne of God with the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands. These all said with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And John testified that he heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” At this, the four living creatures who ministered around the throne said, “Amen!” and the twenty four elders fell down and worshiped God who alone deserves glory.
John 20:19-31We Have Seen the LordRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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On the evening of the day Jesus appeared to his disciples, on the first day of the week, the disciples were present behind closed and locked doors for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them, greeting them! He showed them his hands and his side, and the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus then commissioned them, saying that as the Father has sent him, even so he was sending them into the world. Having said these words, Jesus then breathed on them, commissioning them to be his witnesses and representatives. Being absent from this appearance of our Lord, Thomas rejected the disciples’ testimony that they had seen the Lord, and said that he would not believe unless he saw and touched the wounds of the risen Jesus. Eight days later, the disciples were inside, with Thomas present, and though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them, and greeted them, again! Jesus then invited Thomas to examine his hands and side, and exhorted him not to disbelieve, but to believe. Thomas answered our Lord with an exclamation: “My Lord and my God!” Jesus replied to him: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Luke 24:1-12Easter: He Is Not HereRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Following Jesus’ crucifixion on the first day of the week, at early dawn, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James went to the tomb, bringing along the spices they had prepared. When they arrived they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. They went into the tomb, but did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. The women were frightened, and bowed their faces to the ground. The men spoke to them, saying, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” The women remembered these words of Jesus, returned to their party from the tomb, and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. The company of the disciples were skeptical of their testimony, as if it were an idle tale, and did not believe them. But on hearing it, Peter rose and ran to the tomb, and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths that Jesus was wrapped in lying by themselves. Peter then went home, marveling at what had happened.
Isaiah 52:13-53:12Good Friday ServiceRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Easter Season
Jesus’ suffering on the cross is a literal fulfillment of the prophet Isaiah’s graphic depiction of Yahweh’s suffering Servant. Indeed, our Lord was despised and rejected by his fellow Jews; he was a man of sorrows, and well acquainted with grief, spurned and disdained by his own. Still, through his sufferings under Pontus Pilate and his death on the Roman torture stake, the Lord Jesus bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. While many thought his sufferings were due to his state as a stricken person who had been smitten and afflicted by God, he in fact was wounded for our transgressions. According to the prophet, the Lord Jesus was crushed for our iniquities; his chastisement brought us peace, and, amazingly, with his stripes we are healed. Jesus’ death on Calvary was God’s rescue and restoration of all of Adam’s fallen race, and defeat of the power of death, hell, and the grave.
John 13:1-17Maundy Thursday ServiceRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Easter Season
When our Lord was fully aware that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father, John tells us that he possessed a special love for his sheep who were in the world, and loved them to the end. At the evening meal before the Passover, the devil had already influenced Judas to betray our Lord to the authorities. At the very moment when Jesus realized that the Father had given all things over to him, and was aware that he had come from God and was returning to God, he then rose from supper. Jesus laid aside his outer garments, and took up a towel, and tied it around his waist. Pouring water into a basin he began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. When he had washed their feet, he asked them if they understood what he had just done to them. In drawing out the lesson of his foot-washing, Jesus said if he were their teacher and Lord and washed their feet, so too they ought to wash one another’s feet. He called them to love one another, just as he had loved them. By this all would know that they were his disciples–by their love for one another.
Luke 19:28-40Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the LordRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Palm Sunday
Jesus makes his last trip to Jerusalem, entering upon a colt. As he rode along, his disciples and the crowds spread cloaks on the road, and the entire multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and to praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen saying,“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” The Pharisees, on hearing this exclamation of a messianic psalm of praise, told Jesus to rebuke his followers so they would not call him Messiah or King. Jesus responded by saying if there is not some proclamation from the people that he is the Messiah, the stones themselves would testify on his behalf.
Philippians 3:4-14That We Might Gain ChristRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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While discussing those who might rely on their own religious zeal to please God, Paul claims to have more: he was circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; a zealous persecutor of the Church, living blameless as to righteousness under the law. However, whatever prestige he had among the Jews, and whatever persecution he had against the “heresy” of the Church, he counts it all as loss for the sake of Christ, and the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord. All he counted gain he now esteems as rubbish, in order to gain Christ. He has a new righteousness, not his own law-based righteousness, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God. He has a new goal, to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, and to share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, so as to attain the resurrection from the dead. For these high aims he presses on, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead – the one goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. This is the mature vision of authentic discipleship in Christ.
Luke 15:1-3Parable of the Prodigal FatherRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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In the parable normally referred to as the Lost Son (or Prodigal Son), a father of two sons is confronted with the rebellion of his younger son. Foolishly and rashly, the youngest son demands his share of the father's estate, and quickly squanders his inheritance, having wasted all his money in wild living and finds himself penniless, shamed, and hungry in a foreign country. Reduced to feeding swine, he even longs to eat the food provided for the pigs! Finally coming to his senses regarding his rebellion and its consequences, he resolves to return to his father, repent, and make himself available as one of his father's hired hands. When the father spies his son coming, he uncharacteristically runs to his son with open arms, welcomes him home, and throws a big celebration for his arrival. Although the father's extravagant (prodigal) actions produce resentment in his older son, the father reminds him that his youngest brother who was lost, is now found again - and the finding deserves celebration.
Isaiah 55:1-11God's Higher Ways and ThoughtsRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Gods Nature
In one of Scripture’s greatest invitations, the Lord invites all humankind to come to him, that everyone who thirsts might come to the waters, even those without money. He exhorts us all to come, to buy and to eat, buying wine and milk without money and without price. He asks the hungry to come and listen diligently to him, to incline our ears and to come to him in order that we might live. If we do, he promises to make with us an everlasting covenant, his steadfast, sure love for David. We are commanded to seek the LORD while he may be found and to call upon him while he is near, forsaking our wicked ways and unrighteous thoughts, returning to the Lord. If we do, he will have compassion on and abundantly pardon us. How can this be? Because the LORD’s thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are his ways our ways. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Luke 13:31-35Christ's Lament Over JerusalemRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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In spite of Herod’s threats to kill our Lord Jesus, he set his face to go and face his mission in the place which killed the prophets – Jerusalem. In exclamation, our Savior wept over Jerusalem, crying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’” Our Lord would not shirk his call to go to Jerusalem and there be betrayed and crucified for the salvation of the world.
Luke 9:28-43The Chosen One of GodRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Epiphany Season
Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him to the top of a mountain to pray. As our Lord was praying, he was transfigured – his face shone with heavenly splendor, and his clothing became dazzling white. Moses and Elijah appeared with splendor and conversed with him of his departure (Greek, exodon, exodus) he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. In his ignorance and shock, Peter suggested they build three shelters – one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. From a cloud which overshadowed them, the frightened apostles heard a voice come out of the cloud saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken and the cloud lifted, Jesus was found alone. Indeed, Jesus of Nazareth is the Elect of God, the one anointed by the Lord to redeem and restore creation under God’s reign once more.
1Corinthians 13:1-13The Greatest of These is LoveRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Epiphany Season
If we speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, we are hollow, like a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If we boast in prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and even if we have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, we are nothing. If we give away all we possess, and if we even deliver up our bodies to be burned, but do not have love, we gain nothing. Love is matchless in its scope: it is patient, kind, neither jealous nor boastful, nor arrogant, nor rude. It doesn't insist on its own way, and is neither irritable nor resentful, nor does it rejoice in wrongdoing, but rather rejoices in the truth. In its bearing, believing, hope, and enduring all things, love never ends. Prophecies, tongues, knowledge and all other kinds of endowments will pass away, but love will continue on. Of the three things which remain for us -- faith, hope, and love -- love is the greatest of all. In all things, let us strive to share the love of God in Jesus Christ.
John 2:1-11His Manifested GloryRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Epiphany Season
At a wedding at Cana in Galilee, Jesus was invited to come with his disciples, along with Mary, his mother. When they prematurely ran out of wine, his mother spoke to Jesus about the need. Now there were six stone water jars there, used for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants to fill the water jars, which they filled to the brim. Jesus asked them to draw some out and take it to the master of the feast. The servants took it, and when the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, he called the bridegroom and expressed that everyone first serves the good wine, and when all have freely drunk, then the poor wine. The master, not knowing where the wine came from (although the servants who drew the water knew), then told the bridegroom that he had kept the good wine until now. This was a notable miracle, the first of his signs. Through it Jesus manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him.
Luke 3:15-22The Baptism of the LordRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Epiphany Season
John the Baptizer answered those who wondered whether Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ. He asserted that although he baptized with water, one who was mightier than he would come, whose sandals he was not worthy to untie. This one would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. When those who came to repent were being baptized, our Lord Jesus also came and was baptized. While he was being baptized and praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Jesus indeed is God’s Christ, the anointed one of God, chosen to reveal the Father to the world, and to restore creation under God’s reign.
Matthew 2:1-12O Come Let Us Adore HimRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Epiphany Season
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, Magi (wise men) from the east came to Jerusalem to find the “king of the Jews.” Having seen his star when it rose, they journeyed to come and worship him. After learning from Herod and the chief priests and scribes that Christ was to be born in Bethlehem, they journeyed there, and having seen the star that rose before them, they followed on until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When the Magi saw the child Jesus and his mother Mary, they fell down and worshiped him. They opened their treasures, offered him the gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh, and returned home, skirting Herod’s path, having been warned in a dream to avoid him. Like the Magi, let us seek and adore the Child who is destined to reign as King and Lord of the eternal Kingdom of God.
Luke 2:1-20Born This Day A SaviorRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Christmas Season
On that holy night when Jesus was born, the angels announced to the shepherds that he indeed was the world’s Messiah and Lord. On the very day of his birth to Mary in Bethlehem (called the city of David), Jesus was proclaimed as the world’s true Savior, Christ the Lord. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, this lowly peasant child inspired the heavenly choirs to acknowledge his glory. With a joyful celestial shout they exclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Jesus, the child of Mary, is the Christ, the Savior of the world.
Isaiah 12:2-6The Wells of SalvationRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Advent Season
Our God is the true God of salvation; in him we trust, and because of his gracious Spirit, we need never fear anything for he, the LORD GOD, is our strength and our song, and our salvation. Because of the blessed hope of the Messiah’s coming we have joy, and on his return, we will with great joy draw water from the wells of salvation. As believers clinging to the hope of eternal life in Jesus, we give the Lord thanks, call upon his name, and make his deeds known among the peoples of the earth. Now, as future inhabitants of the new Zion, we declare the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, to be great in the midst of his people.
Luke 1:68-79The Lord Visits and Redeems His PeopleRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Advent Season
The Lord God of Israel, the Maker of the universe, has promised to visit and to redeem his people, and to raise up for them a horn of salvation in the house of David, his champion and servant. This coincides with what he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old: he promised that he would save his people from their enemies, restore all things under his reign, show the mercy promised to their fathers, and remember his holy covenant to Abraham and to David. The Lord will visit and redeem his people.
Jeremiah 33:14-16God Fulfills His PromiseRev. Dr. Don L. Davis
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Advent Season
The expectation of the Kingdom is a vision of restoration and blessing, of the Lord turning desolate streets and uninhabited cities into places where mirth, gladness, and song resound. The Lord promises that the days are coming when he will fulfill the promise he has made to Israel and Judah, and that he will raise up a righteous Branch for David’s throne. As the Lord of covenant faithfulness and grace, he will keep his word – the One whose name is “the Lord is our righteousness” shall come, in God’s time, for God’s glory.