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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Daily Devotion for January 1, 2014

New Year’s Day
Eighth Day of Christmas

Have a Happy and Spirit-filled New Year!



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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 New Year

Dear Master for this coming year
Just one request I bring:
I do not pray for happiness,
Or any earthly thing —
I do not ask to understand
The way Thou leadest me,
But this I ask: Teach me to do
The thing that pleaseth Thee.

I want to know Thy guiding voice,
To walk with Thee each day.
Dear Master make me swift to hear
And ready to obey.
And thus the year I now begin
A happy year will be —
If I am seeking just to do
The thing that pleaseth Thee.


[Let us close our eyes for a minute and reflect on the joy it gives us when we please God.]

For Each of Us in Our Work

Almighty God, heavenly Father, who makes it possible for me to work and who gives every creature its food, declaring your glory and showing your handiwork in the heavens and in the earth; Deliver me, I pray, in my work, from coveting material goods, from falling into the temptation of serving mammon and putting money in the forefront of my life. Help me to perform the work which you have put at my hand, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as your servant, and to the benefit of my fellow men as well as myself; for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lived and died only to serve us.


Parting Prayer

Lord, pour your love into my heart, that I may love you above all things, and my neighbors as myself. Through Christ our Lord.


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

Devotional painting of the baptism of Jesus Christ by Guido Remi
The Baptism of Christ by Guido Remi, c. 1622

Proverbs 6:6-9 (KJV)

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?

Blue Latin Cross

John 3:1-8 (New Living Translation)

Being Reborn

There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother's womb and be born again?”

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don't be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’”

“The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can't tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can't explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

Notes on the Scripture

The phrase “born again Christians” has a negative connotation to many people, both among believers and among nonbelievers. When they hear the term, many people picture Jerry Falwell, great judgmentalism, or raucous pentecostal services where people may speak in tongues. Atheists and more mainstream or Catholic/Orthodox worshippers even use the rather silly term “snake handlers” as a disparaging reference to the public, uninhibited type of worship they associate with the term “born again”.

Getting to the truth of the matter — meaning, as always, reading what the Bible actually says — we discover that the author of the term is Christ himself. He tells us not that we should be born again, but that we must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. What does he mean by this?

Baptism simple graphic

He tells us in the next verse: being born again means being born “of the water and the Spirit”. Some denominations consider baptism to be a sacrament; that is, the actual act of baptism confers Christ's grace upon the recipient. Many others do not believe the act of baptism is sacramental, but rather an act that outwardly demonstrates a rebirth in the Spirit that has already occurred in the believers' heart.

Christ himself, however, said that we do not understand rebirth in the Spirit. He said, “Just as you can hear the wind but can't tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can't explain how people are born of the Spirit.” Since Christ personally told us that we cannot explain it, I listen to explanations and arguments with a little smile inside. If Christ told us that we cannot explain it, how can we?

Even more pointedly, since we are incapable of fully understanding and explaining rebirth in the Spirit, we should not be critical of others' beliefs in how to accomplish it. Paul commanded all those who believe in Christ to set aside their differences and love one another like brothers. So often, we stumble in pride, by judging and rejecting others who do not conform to our own very imperfect understanding.

If you are a Christian, you are a born-again Christian. Christ's grace extends to all who believe in him, who confess him, and are born again of water and the spirit. That's the Gospel truth. E.g, John 3:16, where Christ says “all” who believe in him. So clearly, if we believe in Christ, we will be born again, as new people. This is a very liberating notion: We are to become new people. It is within our grasp to become better, to cast off old attitudes that impede our spiritual growth.

This is the start of a new calendar year, a time when rebirth is especially appropriate to consider. A very happy and successful New Year to you and yours; I hope your New Years' resolutions will include some aspect of your spiritual life. (And yes, the selection from Proverbs was chosen to help you get motivated with any resolutions you want to make!)

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Acts 18:9: One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.”

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Comments (7)

Topic: Page Two | Devotion for Day of January 1, 2014 | Daily Prayer
Tashelle Moore (Rockville, US) says...
Smile thanks for breaking down the meaning of reborn again. Great job. Happy New Year to you and the staff.
1st January 2014 2:17pm
dorothy myers (harrisburg, US) says...
i learn more every day about God and how to understand the walk I must walk. I was worrying about how I will get what I need since Im starting over again at 52 years old and have nothing for a home. I read the scripture and the prayer for the New Year. God will take care of me. He always does. I read the Devotion and do bible study before I leave for my new job. It keeps me focused and joyful
1st January 2014 9:30am
Mason (Atlanta GA, US) says...
God bless you in your endeavors, Dorothy. We are never too old to lay the first brick for a new house. May yours become a mighty mansion of faith over time!

I am older than you and have undertaken a new degree program from a seminary in the past year, including learning ancient Greek. I think rebuilding our lives can happen at any point. I am proud of you for making a new start and will remember you in my prayers.
2nd January 2014 9:12am
mary Pregler (Glen Saint Mary, US) says...
Mason, 1 quick question! Which should we emulate, the ant or the sluggard? on any given day I could be either!!!!!
1st January 2014 9:28am
Michael A. Loos Sr. (West Babylon, US) says...
Thank you for an excellent devotion and meditation putting Christ at the forefront as we bound into a new year, not with worry and anxiety, but rather with joy and confidence in the Savior and steadfastness in His Word! What a great way to start the new year which far exceeds any commitment and zeal for the gym, but rather a firm foundation in the awesome creator of the Universe! Splendid way to start out the New Year! God Bless and thank you for being a daily part of my morning devotions!
1st January 2014 9:01am
Mason (Atlanta GA, US) says...
And my thanks to you, and to everyone who has posted here. Your devotion and support helps to keep my own faith strong and my resolve to work and grow in the Spirit constant.
2nd January 2014 9:06am
Christine Conkling (Walton, US) says...
Happy New Year Mason. Thank you for starting my day every day since you created this site! God bless you and yours!!
1st January 2014 7:45am
Micheal Harper (Chicago, US) says...
I stumbled upon this site a couple of weeks ago. I like what I read and particularly enjoy the prayers. However, as a Black Christian I would like to see more of the African presence of the Bible in your displays. While you state that the website has contributions from many cultures, your paintings and visible displays reflect a predominantly white culture.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! May The Lord bless and keep all of us.
31st December 2013 11:01am
Platt (Boise, US) says...
Daily Prayer has been my home page for some time. As part of my morning routine, it refreshes and refocuses me. Thank you so much for this wonderful gift, and may you all have a wonderful, blessed New Year.
31st December 2013 10:24am
dorothy myers (harrisburg, US) says...
Smile I really enjoy the daily devotional and bible study. I get up early before work and start my day with them. I work in a rought place that lacks spirituality but this keeps me focused. Im blessed to have found you guys
31st December 2013 9:01am
mary Pregler (Glen Saint Mary, US) says...
To Florence and Deacon Dottie There are many of us who struggle with our concentration, and maybe that's just the point. We try to create something, rather then letting it well up from within.I meditate every day for about 20 to 30 minutes.Like Mason says when outside thoughts come into your mind let them float right on by. Do not evaluate them, or you. Satan loves it when he can get your mind off track. And remember that the Lord loves it when we are willing to take time out just for Him. ... Read More
31st December 2013 8:54am
Sandra (Columbus, US) says...
Enjoy and look forward every morning to the message and prayers provided by Daily Prayer Daily Devotional. Thank you for enriching my life and the lives of those I share your message with.
Happy New Year and Blessing to all!
31st December 2013 8:05am
Patrick (Germantown, US) says...
Thank you for caring the baton and adding the focus on mediation. "GOD has truely blessed those whom has placed in the company of good people."
31st December 2013 7:54am
Kim (Winder, US) says...
I send a daily morning text to my Sisters in Christ every morning, something inspirational from this website! They love it, say it's a great way to start the day1 Thank you!
31st December 2013 6:12am
Florence Yu-Pe Benito (Cebu City, Philippines) says...
I live such a hectic life....and so I believed....that even when I read the Daily Prayer, I unconsciously allow other thoughts to get in the way.. The meditation really helps a lot. Smile
30th December 2013 9:00pm
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