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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Daily Devotion for March 18, 2018

Cain and Abel Offering Sacrifices

Woodcut from an old Bible, artist unk., ca. 1900.



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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.


Our apologies for the video feed, which is just a bunch of album covers for the little known Irish band “Skid Row”, but the musical performance of the old slave Spiritual Let Us Break Bread Together by Eamonn Gibney, their lead singer, is outstanding.

Hymn Before Prayer

I  bending my knee
In the eye of the Father who created me,
In the eye of the Son who purchased me,
In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me,
In friendship and affection.

Through Thine own Anointed One, O God,
Bestow upon us fullness in our need:
      Love towards God,
      The affection of God,
      The smile of God,
      The wisdom of God,
      The grace of God,
      The fear of God,
      And the will of God

To do on the world of the Three,
As angels and saints do in heaven;
      Each shade and light,
      Each day and night,
      Each time in kindness,
      Give Thou us Thy Spirit.


Prayer of Confession

Most merciful God, I confess that I have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done, and by what I have left undone. I have not loved you with my whole heart; I have not loved my neighbors as myself; and I sorrow for these wrongful acts and omissions from the bottom of my heart. I humbly and fully repent all of my misdeeds, and pray that for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, you will have mercy on me and forgive me, not by my merits, but by that grace that He has granted those who confess his name. And I pray that you will be in my heart and walk with me, that I might sin no more.


Prayer to Be Filled with Christ’s Love (from Ephesians 3)

Heavenly Father, when I think of the wonder of your great plan for our salvation, I fall on my knees before you, who has named every name in heaven or on earth, and I pray that out of your richness of your glory, you will strengthen me in my inner being with your Spirit, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that I may be rooted and grounded in love, that I may have strength to comprehend with all the saints the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ Jesus, the love that surpasses knowledge, and be filled with the fullness that only you can give. In the name of Christ, I pray,



Let me not forget you as I go forth into the world this day, blessed Lord; may my every word be a prayer, and my every act be testimony to your love and truth, and may I know your presence every second of this day and the week to come.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

Coptic Cross

Psalm 89:1-2,5-7 (NKJV)

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever;
With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.
For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever;
Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens.”

And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord;
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints.
For who in the heavens can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the Lord?

God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints,
And to be held in reverence by all those around Him.

Blue Latin Cross

Genesis 4:1-12 (ESV)

Cain and Abel

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” And again, she bore his brother Abel.

Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard.

So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is towardThe translation of the Hebrew word here is unknown. There are two “best guesses”: 1) sin desires to control Cain, or 2) sin is contrary to Cain’s best interest. you, but you must rule over it.”

Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”

And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”

Notes on the Scripture


ife is unfair. God is unfair. “Fairness” is a nebulous human concept. At its core, the idea of unfairness is that somebody with power over us has offended some principle that exists in our mind. We have come out on the short end of some stick or other, and we don’t like it. We have an argument why we should have gotten more. Often, it is true, many others may ascribe to the same principle; and in the relativistic world of the secular law, fairness has a place.

But God is not relativistic. God is absolute. His will is good by definition, no matter whether we like it or not. If we offend Him, if we disobey His commandments, we are absolutely wrong. Our motive is sinful, usually prideful or greedy. This is the basic lesson of the story of Cain and Abel, and its importance is emphasized by its very early appearance in the Bible.

If there is one place that the words “it’s not fair” are likely to crop up, it’s between children in the same family or schoolroom. So it’s not surprising that the Biblical story concerns two brothers.

God did not look with favor Cain’s offering; we don’t know why. Some theologians have inferred that Abel brought the best of his flock, while Cain simply brought a middling quality from his harvest, but that is speculative. The Bible does not give God’s reason.

Cain and Abel by Titian

The reason for God’s favoritism is not the point of the story. The point is, that although God looked with more favor on Abel’s offering, He still accepted Cain. But Cain was jealous of Abel. He committed the sin of pride and the sin of covetousness, because his only harm was to be humbled. And he thought that it wasn’t fair. This led him to the terrible sin of murder, for which he was cast out of society and cursed in the sight of God.

Christ reiterated the unholiness of human concepts of “fairness” in the parable of the laborers of the vineyard in Matthew 10. “When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius. When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.’”

So, is it fair that someone who lives a life of devotion, serving Christ and suffering, should get the same reward in heaven as someone who has lived a life of profligacy, delighting in the pleasures of the flesh, but coming to Christ on his deathbed? The decision is not entrusted to our feeble, self-serving minds. Our attitude must be always one of thanks, that we might know God’s grace, hoping that others might find it as well.

endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“ The Work Of Your Hands ”

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Matthew 6:25: Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. . . . But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

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Tom Kraft (10)
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