Shepherd's Cross Christian Helps Ministry
(1 Corinthians 12:28)

Following in the footsteps of the Acts of the Apostles, written by St. Luke, Shepherd's Cross Christian Helps Ministry exists by the grace of God to further the first century Apostolic tradition serving in the Great Commission.

(St. Matthew 28:16-20)

When God Says "Repent," Obey!: What Part Of "Repent" Don't You Understand?

Seek the Lord while he makes himself available; call to him while he is nearby! The wicked need to abandon their lifestyle and sinful people their plans. They should return to the Lord, and he will show mercy to them, and to their God, for he will freely forgive them. Isaiah 55:6-7

"Go and shout this message to my people in the countries in the north. Tell them, "Come back to me, wayward Israel," says the Lord. "I will not continue to look on you with displeasure. For I am merciful," says the Lord. "I will not be angry with you forever. However, you must confess that you have done wrong, and that you have rebelled against the Lord your God. You must confess that you have given yourself to foreign gods under every green tree, and have not obeyed my commands," says the Lord. Jeremiah 3:12-13

Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for your sin has been your downfall! Return to the Lord and repent! Hosea 14:1-2

"Yet even now," the Lord says, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Tear your hearts, not just your garments!" Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and boundless in loyal love, often relenting from calamitous punishment. Joel 2:12-13

The Lord says this to the family of Israel: "Seek me so you can live! Do not seek Bethel! Do not visit Gilgal! Do not journey down to Beer Sheba! For the people of Gilgal will certainly be carried into exile; and Bethel will become a place where disaster abounds." Seek the Lord so you can live Otherwise he will break out like fire against Joseph's family; the fire will consume and no one will be able to quench it and save Bethel. Amos 5:4-6.

Bunch yourselves together like straw, you undesirable nation, before God's decree becomes reality and the day of opportunity disappears like windblown chaff, before the Lord's raging anger overtakes you, before the day of the Lord's angry judgment overtakes you! Seek the Lord's favor, all you humble people of the land who have obeyed his commands! Strive to do what is right! Strive to be humble! Maybe you will be protected on the day of the Lord's angry judgment. Zephaniah 2:1-3

All the leaders of the priests and people became more unfaithful and committed the same horrible sins practiced by the nations. They defiled the Lord's temple which he had consecrated in Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 36:14

The Lord God of their ancestors continually warned them through his messengers, for he felt compassion for his people and his dwelling place. But they mocked God's messengers, despised his warnings, and ridiculed his prophets. Finally the Lord got very angry at his people and there was no one who could prevent his judgment. 2 Chronicles 36:15-16

Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the former prophets called out, saying, "The Lord who rules over all says, 'Turn now from your evil wickedness, but they would by no means obey me,' says the Lord. Zechariah 1:4

"Since, I, the Lord, do not go back on my promises, you, sons of Jacob, have not perished. From the days of your ancestors you have ignored my commandments and have not kept them! Return to me, and I will return to you," says the Lord who rules over all. Malachi 3:6-7

After God spoke long ago in various portions and in various ways to our ancestors through the prophets, in these last days he has spoken to us in a son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he created the world. Hebrews 1:1-2

"Through fearing the Lord one departs from evil." Proverbs 16:6

Penitential Psalms

Psalm 6
For the music director, to be accompanied by stringed instruments, according to the sheminith style; a psalm of David.

Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger!
Do not discipline me in your raging fury!
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am frail!
Heal me, Lord, for my bones are shaking!
I am absolutely terrified, and you, Lord, how long will this continue?
Relent, Lord, rescue me!
Deliver me because of your faithfulness!
For no one remembers you in the realm of death, In Sheol who gives you thanks?
I am exhausted as I groan; all night long I drench my bed in tears; my tears saturate the cushion beneath me.
My eyes grow dim from suffering; they grow weak because of all my enemies.
Turn back from me, all you who behave wickedly, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping!
The Lord has heard my appeal for mercy; the Lord has accepted my prayer.
May all my enemies be humiliated and absolutely terrified!
May they turn back and be suddenly humiliated!

Psalms 32
By David; a well-written song.

How blessed is the one whose rebellious acts are forgiven, whose sin is pardoned!
How blessed is the one whose wrongdoing the Lord does not punish, in whose spirit there is no deceit.
When I refused to confess my sin, my whole body wasted away, while I groaned in pain all day long.
For day and night you tormented me; you tried to destroy me in the intense heat of summer. (Selah)
Then I confessed my sin; I no longer covered up my wrongdoing.
I said, "I will confess my rebellious acts to the Lord."
And then you forgave my sins. (Selah)
For this reason every one of your faithful followers should pray to you while there is a window of opportunity.
Certainly when the surging water rises, it will not reach them.
You are my hiding place; you protect me from distress.
You surround me with shouts of joy from those celebrating deliverance. (Selah)
I will instruct and teach you about how you should live.
I will advise you as I look you in the eye.
Do not be like an unintelligent horse or mule, which will not obey you unless they are controlled by a bridle and bit.
An evil person suffers much pain, but the Lord's faithfulness overwhelms the one who trusts in him.
Rejoice in the Lord and be happy, you who are godly!
Shout for joy, all you who are morally upright!

Psalm 38
A psalm of David, written to get God's attention.

O Lord, do not continue to rebuke me in your anger!
Do not continue to punish me in your raging fury!
For your arrows pierce me and your hand presses me down.
My whole body is sick because of your judgment; I am deprived of health because of my sin.
For my sins overwhelm me; like a heavy load, they are too much for me to bear.
My wounds are infected and starting to smell, because of my foolish sins.
I am dazed and completely humiliated; all day long I walk around mourning.
For I am overcome with shame and my whole body is sick.
I am numb with pain and severely battered; I groan loudly because of the anxiety I feel.
O Lord, you understand my heart's desire; my groaning is not hidden from you.
My heart beats quickly; my strength leaves me; I can hardly see.
Because of my condition, even my friends and acquaintances keep their distance; my neighbors stand far away.
Those who seek my life try to entrap me; those who want to harm me speak destructive words; all day long they say deceitful things.
But I am like a deaf man, I hear nothing; I am like a mute who cannot speak.
I am like a man who cannot hear and is incapable of arguing his defense.
Yet I wait for you, O Lord!
You will respond, O Lord, my God!
I have prayed for deliverance, because otherwise they will gloat over me; when my foot slips they will arrogantly taunt me.
For I am about to stumble and I am in constant pain.
Yes, I confess my wrongdoing, and I am concerned about my sins.
But those who are my enemies for no reason are numerous; those who hate me without cause outnumber me.
They repay me evil for the good I have done; though I have tried to do good to them, they hurl accusations at me.
Do not abandon me, O Lord!
My God, do not remain far away from me!
Hurry and help me, O Lord, my deliverer!

Psalm 51
For the music director; a psalm of David, written when Nathan the prophet confronted him after David's affair with Bathsheba.

Have mercy on me, O God, because of your loyal love!
Because of your great compassion, wipe away my rebellious acts!
Wash away my wrongdoing!
Cleanse me of my sin!
For I am aware of my rebellious acts; I am forever conscious of my sin.
Against you, you above all, I have sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight.
So you are just when you confront me; you are right when you condemn me.
Look, I was guilty of sin from birth, a sinner the moment my mother conceived me.
Look, you desire integrity in the inner man; you want me to possess wisdom.
Sprinkle me with water and I will be pure; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
Grant me the ultimate joy of being forgiven!
May the bones you crushed rejoice!
Hide your face from my sins!
Wipe away all my guilt!
Create for me a pure heart, O God!
Renew a resolute spirit within me!
Do not reject me!
Do not take your Holy Spirit away from me!
Let me again experience the joy of your deliverance!
Sustain me by giving me the desire to obey!
Then I will teach rebels your merciful ways, and sinners will turn to you.
Rescue me from the guilt of murder, O God, the God who delivers me!
Then my tongue will shout for joy because of your deliverance.
O Lord, give me the words!
Then my mouth will praise you.
Certainly you do not want a sacrifice, or else I would offer it; you do not desire a burnt sacrifice.
The sacrifices God desires are a humble spirit, O God, a humble and repentant heart you will not reject.
Because you favor Zion, do what is good for her!
Fortify the walls of Jerusalem!
Then you will accept the proper sacrifices, burnt sacrifices and whole offerings; then bulls will be sacrificed on your altar.

Psalm 102
The prayer of an oppressed man, as he grows faint and pours out his lament before the Lord.

O Lord, hear my prayer!
Pay attention to my cry for help!
Do not ignore me in my time of trouble!
Listen to me!
When I call out to you, quickly answer me!
For my days go up in smoke, and my bones are charred like a fireplace.
My heart is parched and withered like grass, for I am unable to eat food.
Because of the anxiety that makes me groan, my bones protrude from my skin.
I am like an owl in the wilderness; I am like a screech owl among the ruins.
I stay awake; I am like a solitary bird on a roof.
All day long my enemies taunt me; those who mock me use my name in their curses.
For I eat ashes as if they were bread, and mix my drink with my tears, because of your anger and raging fury.
Indeed, you pick me up and throw me away.
My days are coming to an end, and I am withered like grass.
But you, O Lord, rule forever, and your reputation endures.
You will rise up and have compassion on Zion.
For it is time to have mercy on her, for the appointed time has come.
Indeed, your servants take delight in her stones, and feel compassion for the dust of her ruins.
The nations will respect the reputation of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth will respect his splendor, when the Lord rebuilds Zion, and reveals his splendor, when he responds to the prayer of the destitute, and does not reject their request.
The account of his intervention will be recorded for future generations; people yet to be born will praise the Lord.
For he will look down from his sanctuary above; from heaven the Lord will look toward earth, in order to hear the painful cries of the prisoners, and to set free those condemned to die, so they may proclaim the name of the Lord in Zion, and praise him in Jerusalem, when the nations gather together, and the kingdoms pay tribute to the Lord.
He has taken away my strength in the middle of life; he has cut short my days.
I say, "O my God, please do not take me away in the middle of my life!
You endure through all generations.
In earlier times you established the earth; the skies are your handiwork.
They will perish, but you will endure.
They will wear out like a garment; like clothes you will remove them and they will disappear.
But you remain; your years do not come to an end.
The children of your servants will settle down here, and their descendants will live securely in your presence."

Psalm 130
A song of ascents.

From the deep water I cry out to you, O Lord.
O Lord, listen to me!
Pay attention to my plea for mercy!
If you, O Lord, were to keep track of sins,
O Lord, who could stand before you?
But you are willing to forgive, so that you might be honored.
I rely on the Lord, I rely on him with my whole being; I wait for his assuring word.
I yearn for the Lord, more than watchmen do for the morning, yes, more than watchmen do for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord, for the Lord exhibits loyal love, and is more than willing to deliver.
He will deliver Israel from all the consequences of their sins.

Psalm 143
A psalm of David.

O Lord, hear my prayer!
Pay attention to my plea for help!
Because of your faithfulness and justice, answer me!
Do not sit in judgment on your servant, for no one alive is innocent before you.
Certainly my enemies chase me.
They smash me into the ground.
They force me to live in dark regions, like those who have been dead for ages.
My strength leaves me; I am absolutely shocked.
I recall the old days; I meditate on all you have done; I reflect on your accomplishments.
I spread my hands out to you in prayer; my soul thirsts for you in a parched land.
Answer me quickly, Lord!
My strength is fading.
Do not reject me, or I will join those descending into the grave.
May I hear about your loyal love in the morning, for I trust in you.
Show me the way I should go, because I long for you.
Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord!
I run to you for protection.
Teach me to do what pleases you, for you are my God.
May your kind presence lead me into a level land.
O Lord, for the sake of your reputation, revive me!
Because of your justice, rescue me from trouble!
As a demonstration of your loyal love, destroy my enemies!
Annihilate all who threaten my life, for I am your servant.

Acts 3

Peter And John Heal A Lame Man At The Temple

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time for prayer, at three o'clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried up, who was placed at the temple gate called "the Beautiful Gate" every day so he could beg for money from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple courts, he asked them for money. Peter looked directly at him (as did John) and said, "Look at us!" So the lame man paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, "I have no silver or gold, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, stand up and walk!" Then Peter took hold of him by the right hand and raised him up, and at once the man's feet and ankles were made strong. He jumped up, stood and began walking around, and he entered the temple courts with them, walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God, and they recognized him as the man who used to sit and ask for donation sat the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with astonishment and amazement at what had happened to him. Acts 3: 1-10

Peter Addresses The Crowd

While the man was hanging on to Peter and John, all the people, completely astounded, ran together to them in the covered walkway called Solomon's Portico. When Peter saw this, he declared to the people, "Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us as if we had made this man walk by our own power or piety? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate after he had decided to release him. But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a man who was a murderer be released to you. You killed the Originator of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this fact we are witnesses! And on the basis of faith in Jesus' name, his very name has made this man, whom you see and know, strong. The faith that is through Jesus has given him this complete health in the presence of you all. And now, brothers, I know you acted in ignorance, as your rulers did too. But the things God foretold long ago through all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he has fulfilled in this way. Therefore repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and so that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus. This one heaven must receive until the time all things are restored, which God declared from times long ago through his holy prophets. Moses said, "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must obey him in everything he tells you. Every person who does not obey that prophet will be destroyed and thus removed from the people." And all the prophets, from Samuel and those who followed him have spoken about and announced these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors, saying to Abraham, "And in your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed." God raised up his servant and sent him first to you, to bless you by turning each one of you from your iniquities. Acts 3: 11-26

Acts 4

The Arrest and Trial of Peter and John

While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the priests and the commander of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, angry because they were teaching the people and announcing in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. So they seized them and put them in jail until the next day (for it was already evening). But many of those who had listened to the message believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. Acts 4:1-4

On the next day, their rulers, elders, and experts in the law came together in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and others who were members of the high priest's family. After making Peter and John stand in their midst, they began to inquire, "By what power or by what name did you do this?" Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, replied, "Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today for a good deed done to a sick man, by what means this man was healed let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, this man stands before you healthy. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, that has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved." Acts 4:5-12

When they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and discovered that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized these men had been with Jesus. And because they saw the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say against this. But when they had ordered them to go outside the council, they began to confer with one another, saying, "What should we do with these men? For it is plain to all who live in Jerusalem that a notable miraculous sign has come about through them, and we cannot deny it. But to keep this matter from spreading any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name." And they called them in and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, "Whether it is right before God to obey you rather than God, you decide, for it is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard." After threatening them further, they released them, for they could not find how to punish them on account of the people, because they were all praising God for what had happened. For the man, on whom this miraculous sign of healing had been performed, was over forty years old. Acts 4:13-22

The Followers of Jesus Pray for Boldness

When they were released, Peter and John went to their fellow believers and reported everything the high priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices to God with one mind and said, "Master of all, you who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them, who said by the Holy Spirit through your servant David our forefather, 'Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot foolish things? The kings of the earth stood together, and the rulers assembled together, against the Lord and against his Christ.'" Acts 4:23-26

"For indeed both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together in this city against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do as much as your power and your plan had decided beforehand would happen. And now, Lord, pay attention to their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your message with great courage, while you extend your hand to heal, and to bring about miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus." When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God courageously. Acts 4:27-31

An Example To Follow

As an example of suffering and patience, brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord's name. Think of how we regard as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job's endurance and you have seen the Lord's purpose, that the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:10-11

And Joshua said unto all the people [of Israel], ". . . choose you this day whom ye will serve; . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" Joshua. 24:2, 15

"...But the people who are loyal to their God will act valiantly." Daniel 11:32b

Road Less Traveled
Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet, knowing how way leads onto way
I doubted if I should ever come back

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference

In Jesus name,

Brother Richard, MS Ed
Brother Richard, MS Ed

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