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Heavenly Father, you made us and have loved us and protected us each day of our lives. You are truly our loving Father. Thank you for our earthly fathers. Lead us to respect and honor them, even when it is difficult. If we are now fathers, help us take seriously the great responsibility to be faithful teachers and guides for our children. They are a great treasure given to us by you. Give us the courage to teach your words to our children. We thank you for your rich blessings of family. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds… Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
~ Deuteronomy 11:18a,19 (NIV)
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”
God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.”
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky…” ~ Genesis 1:20, 22, 26a (NIV)
Now, brothers and sisters, I (Paul) want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you… For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:
- that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
- that he was buried,
- that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
- and that he appeared to Cephas [Peter], and then to the Twelve.
- After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time…
- Then he appeared to James,
- then to all the apostles,
- and last of all he appeared to me also…
…he (Jesus) was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
Acts 2:1-4 (NIV)
When the day of Pentecost came, they (the apostles) were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[or languages] as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 2:32-33 (NIV)
(Peter said to the crowd) “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.”
Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV)
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for our nation’s freedoms. Help us to teach our children about the men and women who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country. Amen.
They (the two disciples who saw Jesus on the road to Emmaus) got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
Luke 24:33-53 (NIV)
Gracious Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of life you gave us through our mothers. Bless mothers everywhere with love, patience, wisdom, understanding, and strength so that they can raise their children to love and honor you.
On this Mother’s Day weekend, some people yearn for their mothers who have died. Others’ hearts are broken because of the loss of a child. Give them strength to focus on you, keeping you first in their hearts. Your love alone can satisfy all their longings; be with them and comfort them.
We thank you that you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, to be born of a human mother in order to save us, making us your dear children forever. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Even though God had given the People of Israel the land of Canaan, they often sinned by worshiping false gods. For this, God would punish them.
As a punishment, God did not send any rain to the land of Israel. For a long, long time it did not rain and nothing could grow. Soon there was no food for the people and the animals to eat. Some of the people had to go to other lands to live. One man who lived in Bethlehem took his wife Naomi and his two sons to a strange land.
In this land there was enough food but the people there did not love God. They prayed to other gods. But the man and his wife prayed to the Lord God, and they taught their sons to worship him too.
Some time later the man died in this strange land. His wife Naomi and his two sons were left there alone. But the sons had found wives in this land. One of the wives was named Orpah and the other was named Ruth. Ruth learned to love and serve God.
After about ten years, the sons also died. Now Naomi and Orpah and Ruth were all alone. They had no one to make a home for them.
Then Naomi heard that the Lord had once again sent rain to Canaan. Now that there was enough food for the people to eat, Naomi wanted to go back to her home. Ruth and Orpah said to Naomi, “We will go with you to your home in Canaan.”
As they were on the way, Naomi said to Orpah and Ruth, “Go back to your own land, and live in your mother’s house again. I hope that God will be as kind to you as He has been to me.” Orpah kissed Naomi goodbye, and she went back to her own people. But Ruth stayed with Naomi.
Naomi said to Ruth, “Orpah has gone back to her people. You should go back too.”
“Oh, do not ask me to leave you,” Ruth answered. “I will go wherever you go and live with you there. I will be a part of your family and worship your God. I will die in the same land that you die in and be buried there. We will stay together as long as we live.” So Ruth stayed with Naomi, and they both went back to the land of Canaan together.
They came to Bethlehem just when the grain was ripe in the fields. Workers were cutting the grain and putting it into the barns.
Ruth went into the fields to pick up the grain that the workers had dropped. She used this grain for food, so that she and Naomi would not be hungry. The field Ruth worked in belonged to a rich man named Boaz.
One day Boaz asked one of his workers, “Who is the strange young woman who is working in my field?”
The worker said, “Her name is Ruth. She is the girl who came back with Naomi.”
Boaz went to talk to Ruth. He said, “Stay and work in my field. When you are hungry or thirsty, you may eat and drink with my workers.”
“Why are you so kind to me?” asked Ruth. “You don’t even know me.”
Boaz answered, “I have heard how kind you were to Naomi. You left your father and mother, and you left your own land to come to this strange land. You trust in the Lord, and He is blessing your work.”
When Ruth had gone back to work, Boaz told his workers, “Be very kind to Ruth. I want her to have more grain than she is getting now. Let more of it fall to the ground, so that there is more for her to pick up.”
Every day Ruth worked in the fields that belonged to Boaz. He learned to love Ruth, and he married her. Ruth and Boaz had children and grandchildren. King David came from their family and many, many years later, Jesus, the Savior, was born of David’s family. (WELS.net)
I am Jesus’ little lamb,
ever glad at heart I am;
for my Shepherd gently guides me,
knows my need, and well provides me,
loves me every day the same,
even calls me by my name.
Day by day, at home, away,
Jesus is my staff and stay.
When I hunger, Jesus feeds me,
into pleasant pastures leads me;
when I thirst, He bids me go
where the quiet waters flow.
Who so happy as I am,
even now the Shepherd’s lamb?
And when my short life is ended,
by His angel host attended,
He shall fold me to His breast,
there within His arms to rest.
by Henrietta L. von Hayn, 1724-1782
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.
When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”
None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
John 21:1-14 (NIV)
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20:19-31 (NIV)