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Monday, October 24, 2016

Daily Devotion for June 27, 2012



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lessons and scripture

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.


This beautiful and touching hymn is often sung in Mormon services, but it was actually written by a Congregationalist and Methodist minister, Jeremiah Rankin, who was an African-American and the first president of Howard University.

Prayer for the Morning

Holy Father, who watches over your children by night and by day; blessed Jesus, my food and my strength; sweet Holy Spirit, the light and guide of my soul; I thank you for this new day and pray that you will watch over me. May my thoughts, my words and actions reflect the Spirit that dwells within me. And may every minute of my life celebrate the gift of grace, earned by the blood of Christ, in whose name I pray.


Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.



Lord, support me all the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and my work is done. Then of Thy mercy, grant me a safe lodging, and a holy rest and a peace at last through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


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

endless knot

Sermon Advice

You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.

~ Oliver Goldsmith

Blue Latin Cross

Jonah 1:1-3 (AMP)

Jonah and the Whale

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.

But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from being in the presence of the Lord and went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish.

Notes on the Scripture

Since we have just read two fairly dense New Testament theological books — 1 Peter and 1 John — I thought it would nice to have something more fun with more narrative to it. So: Jonah and the Whale!

Jonah is actually considered a minor prophet, and his book appears in that long list of twelve rarely read books, with hard names, at the end of the Old Testament (rather than in the historical section or, like Job, in the books of wisdom). His name and story have become part of the widespread culture and is well known in two contexts: First, simply as a person who was swallowed by a whale and lived; and second, among sailors, as a person who is a jinx when on board a ship. Other minor prophets are at the opposite end of the spectrum: Who, other than the most dedicated Bible scholars, can tell you anything about Habakkuk or Nahum, or even recognize their names?

That Jonah was a historical character is evidenced beyond question by the reference to him in 2 Kings 14:25: "Jeroboam restored Israel's border... according to the word of the Lord... which He spoke through His servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath-hepher."

The two place names mentioned are also historically known. The first, Nineveh, is the subject of a rather heartwarming lesson for all the atheists and skeptics who claim the Bible is a work of fiction and disproven by science: in this case, archeology.

In spite of the fact that Nineveh is called a "great city" three times in the Old Testament (Gen. 10:11, 12; Jonah 1:2; 3:3) and once in the Apocrypha (Judith 1:1), critics long pooh-poohed the claim. When the walled city was finally found and excavated, it measured less than three miles across. That sparked cynical claims that the author, Jonah, did not know what he was talking about. But the real author, the Holy Spirit, was being overlooked. Later excavations have revealed that Nineveh had many suburbs, three of which are mentioned along with Nineveh in Gen. 10:11, 12. One first-century writer (Diodorus of Sicily) justifiably says that Nineveh was a quadrangle measuring about sixty miles in circuit—a "great city" indeed!

The other city mentioned, Tarshish, was known to Solomon and was the furthest extent of the Phoenician trading empire (see Map of Phoenician Trade) in Jonah's time. While nobody doubts its actual existence, nobody really knows exactly where it was. Some scholars identify it with Carthage, but more likely it was on the southern coast of Spain, at the western extreme of the Mediterranean, the farthest early ships could venture without braving the great storms of the Atlantic Ocean.

At any rate, its role in the story of Jonah is quite clear. It was the farthest end of the civilized world.

Phoenician ship in Bible times
An early Phoenician ship, such as the one Jonah might have taken.

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