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Wednesday, January 20, 2021
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Daily Devotion for January 20, 2021


<i>Church in Evisa, Corsica</i> by William H. Johnson, ca. 1927.
Church in Evisa, Corsica, by William H. Johnson, ca. 1927.

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.




For the Presence of God

O  God, be present with me always, dwell within my heart. With thy light and thy Spirit guide my soul, my thoughts, and all my actions, that I may teach thy Word, that thy healing power may be in me and in all the saints of thy church universal.

Amen.

To Lay My Suffering at Jesus’ Feet

Lord Jesus, you call me to live every aspect of my life in your presence, and so I come before you as I am. With the myrrh that the wise men carried I bring, too, the pain and sorrow and suffering that I have experienced. I lay them before you because they are all part of who I am. I ask that good may come from whatever negative things happen to me, knowing that nothing can ever separate me from your love.

Amen.

For Purity of Speech

O  God, who knows well how often I sin against you with my tongue; Keep me free from all untrue and unkind words; consecrate my speech to your service; and keep me often silent, that my heart may speak to you and may listen for your voice; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Meditation

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a right spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:10


Benediction

God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and Spirit of God amidst us, direct our way unto you. Make us to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end we may establish our hearts unblameable in holiness before you, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

Amen.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.



endless knot

First Things First

Revival begins by Christians getting right first and then spills over into the world.

~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon


Blue Latin Cross

Galatians 4:18a (Daily Prayer Bible)

18 “To strive is good — when you strive for goodness.”

Verbatim Bible

17 They zealously court you not goodly, but to exclude you they want, that them you seek.

18 And good to be striving for good always, and not only when present me with you,


DP Parallel Bible (3-Column) - Galatians 4


Notes on the Scripture

Striving (Galatians #48)

One of the reasons many scholars believe that Paul dictated his letters is that, sometimes, the thoughts become jumbled up somewhat, with short tangential remarks that are more typical of unrehearsed speech — rambling, if you will — than the more considered process of writing. We certainly see it here! Paul inserts two off-the-cuff ideas that break the flow of his main argument. Moreover, they are so briefly stated that the meaning is difficult to reach. Still, he clearly thought they were important to say, and anyone who is hungry for his teaching would have to agree.

The shorter digression is a parenthesis on striving. It is just six words in Greek and a bit hard to read: “And good to-be-striving for good (or in goodness) always, . . . ” The root of the verb translated as “strive” here transliterates as zelous, which adds to the meaning a bit, since “to strive” could be defined “to work with zeal,” or “to try to accomplish something zealously.”

King David, from <br>Macclesfield Psalter (c.1320)
King David, from
Macclesfield Psalter (c.1320)

But one must infer a comparison to the preceding sentence, because the Judaizers have surely been “striving” to win the Galatians over with great zeal. For whatever reason, Paul thinks it is important to point out that he is not criticizing ardent effort in general; rather, he approves of it when its aim is goodness. An extremely loose paraphrase might read: “The Judaizers are not striving for goodness, but for their own gain. I do not criticize their striving; striving with zeal is a good thing when the motive is goodness, that is, truthful teaching of the gospel for the benefit of the audience.”

Davy Crockett said, “Be sure you’re right. Then go ahead.” When I was a youth I thought this was the most obvious — and therefore the stupidest — thing I had ever heard. But over the years, the profundity of it sank in, slowly but surely. It restates Paul as an imperative. The two pitfalls of life, put simply. We do not want to take action if we are wrong; but when we are sure we are right, we must take action.

Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians to test everything against Scripture; and this is the only way we can ever be absolutely, positively sure we are right. So, today, let us commend ourselves, not in pride, but in love of our glorification of God; for we are at this moment doing our best to accomplish part One of the two-part process: striving zealously to understand the Word of God, and thereby, to be able to know when we are right.



Contemporary calligraphy, by Russian Gennady Pavlov.
Contemporary Bible calligraphy, by Russian Gennady Pavlov.

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Comments (2)

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Christysays...

I appreciate Thomas’ checklist, in the previous comment on today’s scripture from Galatians. As a Texan, Davy Crockett’s quotation is a familiar one, and seems to coordinate perfectly with Paul’s encouragement to “ . . . strive for goodness.” Today, I pray that all Americans, all people of the world, will strive for goodness in every thought, every word, and every deed - not “good” as the individual perceives it, but God’s goodness.

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Thomas(Savannah, Georgia, US)says...

The phrase today from Davy Crockett “Be sure you’re right. Then go ahead.”

Reminds me of the

Common Sense Checklist.

1. Is it safe?

2. Is it legal?

3. Is it moral?

4. Does it made sense?

Note: You must answer YES to all four questions to proceed.

Warning: Failure to answer honestly may result in embarrassment, loss of finance, loss of freedom, or loss of life.

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Bobbiesays...

Thomas, I do not think the “Is it safe?” was on Davy Crockett’s checklist. Loved your comment!

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