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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Daily Devotion for November 20, 2013

Christian got up to the Gate, illustration by H. Melville (ca. 1836) for John Bunyan’s A Pilgrim’s Progress . An allegorical depiction of a man reaching the moment of decision to give his will over to God. Above the gate are engraved the words, “Knock and it will be opened unto you”.



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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.


Morning Prayer (George Washington)

O  Lord our God, most mighty and merciful father, I, your unworthy creation and servant, once more approach your presence. Though not worthy to appear before you, because of the many sins and transgressions which I have committed against your divine majesty; yet I pray you, for the sake of him in whom you are well pleased, the Lord Jesus Christ, to let me give you thanks and praise for your many and varied mercies extended toward me, for the quiet rest and repose of the past night, for food, clothing, health, peace, liberty, and the hopes of a better life through the merits of your dear son's bitter passion.

And O kind Father, continue your mercy and favor to me this day, and always; give resolution to all my lawful undertakings; let me have all my directions from your Holy Spirit; and success from your bountiful hand. Let the bright beams of your light so shine into my heart, and enlighten my mind in understanding your blessed word, that I may be enabled to perform your will in all things, and effectively resist all temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil. Preserve and defend our rulers in church and state. Bless the people of this land, be a father to the fatherless, a comforter to the comfortless, a deliverer to the captives, and a physician to the sick. Let your blessings guide me and all of us, this day and forever, through Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray.


For Those in Need of Strength

I  pray, Lord, for all who will need strength and courage in the day ahead: For those who face danger. For those who risk themselves for others. For those who must make an important decision today. For people who are seriously ill. For those facing persecution or torture. I ask you, Lord, to give them the power of your Spirit,



O  good shepherd, seek me out, and bring me home to your fold again. Deal favourably with me according to your good pleasure, until I may dwell in your house all the days of my life, and praise your forever and ever with them that are there.


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

Emblem of John the Evangelist, Church of St. David, Llanarth, Ceredigion, Wales. The eagle is by tradition the symbol of John.

Psalm 103:1-5 (NSRV)

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and do not forget all his benefits —

who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Blue Latin Cross

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NIV)

God’s Holy Temple

Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Notes on the Scripture

Many people, especially those who are accustomed to more restrained forms of worship, sometimes push the Holy Spirit to the back of their minds. But the Bible teaches us in this passage, in black and white, that God's Spirit dwells in us. No interpretation can belie this fundamental tenet of Christianity. Although various denominations have different beliefs on how we receive the Holy Spirit and place very different emphasis on the Spirit in their worship services, none (to my knowledge) rejects the clear Biblical teaching, that the Holy Spirit dwells in those who have received Christ's grace.

Man praying in devotion

It is important to remember our life in the Spirit in our daily lives, our thoughts and our prayers. The Spirit's presence is a gift that is given to us during our human existence, and it is a gift filled with power. The Bible teaches us that it will put words into our mouth when our brains fail us, in order to speak Christ's message. The power of the Spirit can and will help us resist temptation to sin, if we only use it. Calling on the Spirit can lift us from the despair that is the “gift” of Satan.

We must always remember that the Holy Spirit is a face of God. Although the Spirit serves us, He is not room service; He will only move us and empower us when we are acting in faith, as Christ's servants.

There is another problem: unfortunately, the power of the Holy Spirit is easily confused, in our minds, with our own human traits and powers. Charlatans posing as Christian ministers mislead many people who have been touched by the Spirit and actually encourage them to call upon the Spirit to feed their own human drives.

Just as often, people will become confused in their own minds; instead of following God, and calling upon the Holy Spirit to help them, they will seek the Spirit's help in satisfying the desires of the flesh: their pride, their wealth, their lust. They seek to become gods in their own right, harnessing the power of the true God to fulfill their human will. “Thy will be done” should be ever foremost in our minds, when we pray.

When we become confused about what is our will and what is God’s, the solution is to read the Bible and to compare our thoughts — or what somebody else is trying to tell us — against it. It is especially important to read the New Testament and even more especially important to read the teachings of Christ himself. We must actively seek not to dwell on passages that reinforce our personal beliefs; it is much more important to read passages that conflict with our beliefs and to meditate on contradictions between Biblical teachings and our own thoughts.

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Proverbs 31:10-12 (KJV): Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

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Comments (18)

Topic: Page Two | Devotion for Day of November 20, 2013 | Daily Prayer
Leslie Murray (Columbus, US) says...
I have discussions often with the JW ladies about the New World Translation. This is why I also read my GNV with their translation and we can see the differences. I am not harsh with these little old ladies, but we do have lively chats about Christ and God. I think it makes us sharper and we do study intensely. They also get to visit in a warm house, share their crochet skills with me and relax. I am going to look into getting the ESV study bible and that should add some more sparks our ... Read More
21st November 2013 7:28am
Mason says...
Here's a tip about Bibles and JW. Just look at John 1:1, which Christian Bibles translate: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. But the NWT or any JH "Bible" will have: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. That little "a" completely changes the New Testament. Christians believe that there is one God in three persons. Christ is God. JWs believe that Christ was created by God to be his ... Read More
21st November 2013 10:32am
Leslie Murray (Columbus, US) says...
Thank you for the tip about the little "a". I have called them out on the "Jesus as God's CEO" as you so perfectly describe their take on Him. It is one of the topics of our lively chats. The biggest thing is I just don't back down and they will change the subject. These ladies are both in their 70's, so I just try to be kind to them and I did give them a GNV bible. You never know, they may see the difference. Smile
22nd November 2013 7:03am
Phil True (Richmond VA, US) says...
The Revised Standard Version, 1989, is used by the UMC and, I think, by the PCUSA. It is what I normally use. While the KJV is indeed poetic, I'm not sure what you mean by "authenticity" in reference to it. Are you saying that the translators of the early 17th Century were more accurate than some of the more recent scholars and translators, such as the ones who are responsible for the RSV? I've not used the ESV.
20th November 2013 9:40pm
Mason says...
Yes, I'd say that the King James is more "authentic" in the sense that it is a literal translation. The RSV and especially the NSRV, which is what I am guessing you referring to since you say 1989 edition (I could be wrong - I'll check the next time I go to a Methodist or Episcopal Church), are in my opinion dynamic equivalent translations that just didn't do as good a job as some others. There is some qualification needed in the authenticity statement, since the old ... Read More
21st November 2013 11:11am
Mason says...
I hope you will take my reply remembering Rule #1: (Almost) all Bibles are great. You will get the Word of God from the RSV and if that's the one you want to read, I give you every encouragement. I myself got dragged, kicking and screaming, into reading the ESV by a friend. If you simply aren't interested in a new Bible - end of discussion. But if you want to entertain the notion of trying a new translation, the nice things is, you can try out different Bibles for free on, ... Read More
21st November 2013 11:33am
Bob (Crystal Springs, US) says...
I couldn't find an NEV (New English Version)as mentioned in Part I. Should this have been New English Translation (NET)?
20th November 2013 9:56am
Mason says...
I think I must be working too hard. There actually is a NEV (New European Version) but I meant to type ESV (English Standard Version). Sorry about the mix-up, Bob.
20th November 2013 11:15am
Helen Keane (Australia) says...
My mother, a godly lady, recommended the New Living Translation which i like. I use " Biblegateway" (online bible access) to compare translations sometimes. in your example from 1Peter 1:20, couldn't the meaning be clarified by the following verse, 21?
20th November 2013 9:25am
Mason says...
I hope everyone will take to heart that nearly all Bibles are great, and you can read just about any of them and learn the truth of God's word. Get a Bible you like, and if you like the New Living Translation, you are going to learn the Word of God. The only reason you might want a literal Bible is to really bear down in fine detail on specific sections, so if you do any sort of intensive Bible study, a literal translation can be important. As for 2 Peter, if you think verse 21 supports a ... Read More
20th November 2013 11:43am
Helen Keane (Australia) says...
Thanks for your response and thoughtful words. I like your interpretation of 2 Peter 1:20-21, hadn't thought of it that way--which goes to your point of importance of studying the Word with others! Smile
21st November 2013 9:29am
Steven McIntire (Tucson, US) says...
I drove myself to the brink of suicide,trying to decipher the various translations alone.Until I saw a passage that reads"Do not believe all the words written in this book,for it is written by man,man is prone to error and He will distort the meanings of this book to suite his own desires" For me bible study has to be done in a group,discussing what each part might mean to each of us. If we are offended by "political correctness" in a bible,We have truly lost touch with the ... Read More
20th November 2013 8:36am
helen timmler (bear grass, US) says...
oops Mason. I have the 2005 NIV because I can understand it better. Also have the NIV application study bible I think is 2005 also (so many dates. Now your comments about this Bible have me questioning whether I am getting the correct info and may need to change. Any suggestions???? The King James turns me totally off. Thanks
20th November 2013 6:50am
Mason says...
Helen, it is impossible to sort out all the NIV translations, because they keep pulling older versions out of print. I think the "NIV" from 2005 is okay; the one that they later disavowed was called "TNIV", Today's New International Version. But really, someone at your level of study shouldn't be using a dynamic equivalent translation at all. It's not like you have two choices, King James or NIV. The ESV is really as easy to read as the NIV and much more ... Read More
20th November 2013 12:01pm
helen timmler (bear grass, US) says...
Thank you Mason. Will look into this.
21st November 2013 6:39am
John Isaksen (US) says...
Very interesting and informative. In speaking about the new 2011 NIV you wrote; "not insulting to the Jews" Do you want it to be insulting? Please explain
20th November 2013 6:47am
Mason says...
No, of course not. What I want is the words of the Bible translated accurately from the Greek and Hebrew. Maybe an example will make my objection clearer. In Esther 8:11, there is a statement which correctly translates as authorizing Jewish defenders to wage total warfare against Assyrian attackers, including killing women and children and keeping their possessions. The TNIV changes this to: kill and annihilate any armed force of any nationality or province that might attack them and their ... Read More
20th November 2013 1:03pm
Christine Conkling (Walton, US) says...
Fabulous as always Mason!!!
20th November 2013 4:48am
Gloria Holstrom (Blue Springs, US) says...
I, like Leslie Murray, have been searching for a Catholic Study Bible. I bought "The Fireside Study Bible for NABRE but it is hard to use as I am now limited to digital books due to paralysis. Years ago I found a great S.B. at a Baptist store. It had scripture in the R. column of a page and explanations (maps, history, etc.) in L. column. Very user friendly. Sadly, I lost it. HELP me, please. I love this website so much!
19th November 2013 6:57pm
Chinita (New Jersy) says...
The "What a Great Morning Prayer" was just what I needed to read this morning. Thanks ever so much and God Bless you. Amen.Smile
19th November 2013 9:58am
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