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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Daily Devotion for October 10, 2012

Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, Giotto c. 1305
Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, Giotto c. 1305



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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.


Prayer for the Morning

I  call upon you, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting.

I lift my heart to you, O Lord, to be strengthened for this day. Be with me in all I do, my God; guide me in all my ways.

I will carry some burdens today; some trials will be mine. So I wait for your help, Lord, lest I stumble and fall.

I will do my work, Father, the work begun by your Son. He lives in me and I in him; may his work today be done.


Simple Thanks

For our restful sleep at night,
for the rain and sunshine bright,
For the love that Thou dost send,
For our homes and for each friend,

For the day and all its pleasures,
Grateful thanks I render now.
May our lives pass on the blessings,
None can give to us, but Thou.



Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end he may stablish your heart unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.


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

Devotional painting of John the Baptist by Titian
John the Baptist by Titian, c. 1540


Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.

~ Billy Graham

Blue Latin Cross

Mark 1:1-15

The Good News

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

"See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:

'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'"

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."

Notes on the Scripture

The beliefs and practices concerning baptism vary widely among Christian denominations. Several — notably the Quakers and the Salvation Army — neither believe it is necessary nor practice the ritual. A great many (such as the Catholic and Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and Methodist communions) believe that baptism is necessary to salvation and that an actual transformation takes place. Others, notably Baptists, do not believe it to be a sacrament, but practice it as an act of Christian obedience.

Baptism, basically, means a cleansing. It derives from a Greek word meaning "to immerse", and indeed, many Christians perform baptism by totally immersing the person in water. The Greek word also applied to less dramatic cleansing by water, such as dipping one's hands in water to clean them before a meal. So when a person is baptized, he is generally cleansed with water to correlate with the cleansing of the soul from sin by Christ's grace. It represents the moment when a person is shown to be reborn in Christ's grace, either symbolically (as a discipline to show that one has been reborn) or sacramentally (that is, an outward and visible sign of an actual simultaneous spiritual event).

Jesus' baptism by a non-divine human (John the Baptist) has agitated theologians for two thousand years. How can Christ, who was born without sin, be baptised at all, much less by a mortal man "not worthy to untie His sandals"?

Well, who knows? God is not limited by human logic and cannot be understood by it. Logic is a limitation of the human mind. Clearly, the event marked a milestone in Christ's life; it was the point at which he emerges from his youth and begins his full-time mission of teaching, a three-year journey ending in His death, resurrection, and ascension. Equally clearly, Christ's baptism demonstrates that the three persons of God are acting in harmony.

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Isaiah 40:31: But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

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