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Friday, September 22, 2017

Daily Devotion for January 6, 2014

Feast of the Epiphany



Portinari Altarpiece by Hugo van der Goes, c. 1475 (center panel of a triptych). Notice that the infant Jesus lies alone, remarkably the strongest figure even though He is a newborn. Another notable feature of this remarkable work are the three shepherds, who are the largest figures in the painting other than Joseph and Mary. Gap-toothed and rustic, still carrying their tools, the emphasis on these rough workmen in the presence of angels and kings anticipates the apostles and Christ's primary mission to the poor and wretched. Such a depiction was unusual in Renaissance art.
In the full-size work, there is an especially touching tribute to the women in Christ's life, notably Mary Magdelene, who can be recognized by the jar of ointment in her hands. (The woman in red would appear to be St. Margaret.)

Prayers

Scripture

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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.

Amen.

We have a very popular contemporary Worship Song to start the week, Here I Am to Worship from Michael W. Smith.


Prayer for the Day

Holy God, you have given me another day. Bring your Holy Spirit into my mind and my life, so that I may walk this day in your presence. Let me feel your presence throughout the day, remembering always that you sent your Spirit that you might be a living force in all I see and all I do. When I feel temptation or begin to stray, show me your path. Correct me, comfort me, let me live your will; that I may be happy in this life and blessed in the life to come. This I pray in the name of Christ, my Lord.

Amen.

Meditation

[Let us close our eyes for a minute and reflect on having the Holy Spirit be with us during the day.]


For Prostitutes and Lewd Persons

Heavenly Father, I remember and raise up to you this day all people who have fallen into the pit of sexual immorality, especially those who earn money or habitually abuse the gift of sex you have given us: Adulterers; prostitutes and those who go to them; active homosexuals, pederasts, and all who are mired in perversion of your gift; pornographers and their audience; and all those who preach to the public that morality is illusory, and encourage others to misuse their sexual nature.

Let me not judge them, Lord, for who is without sin that may cast the first stone? Let me love them, and help me to show them the error of their ways, not in judgment, but gently, by good example and gentle correction. And in the love of Christ, grant that you Holy Spirit may call them to you, that they might repent and see the error of their path; that they might find your love, and your eternal joy.

And as you have promised, send your Holy Spirit to me, so that I might fight the temptation to lust, every day; and for those who desire it, I pray we (or they) may find satisfaction of our sex drive within a happy and Godly marriage.

In Christ’s name I pray,

Amen.

Blessing for the Day

Oh God, hold me in the palm of your hand. I pray that you will mold me into what you want me to be. May I joyfully fill the role you have given to me and feel your peace deep in my soul, today and always,

Amen.


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


Early 14th century Russian icon of the Epiphany, showing the baptism of Jesus.
Early 14th century Russian icon of the Epiphany, showing the baptism of Jesus.

Isaiah 60:1-3 (ESV)

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.

And nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your rising.


Blue Latin Cross

Ephesians 3:2-5 (ESV)

Epiphany: The Church Celebration and the Personal Experience

[Y]ou have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.

This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.


Notes on the Scripture

What is an epiphany? The words “epiphany” and “theophany” both mean the appearance of God to a human being. But theophany is a more general term, meaning simply that God has manifested himself so that he might be perceived by physical senses. The burning bush was a theophany witnessed by Moses.

“Epiphany” focuses on the moment of realization, by a person, that he is looking at (or hearing, or feeling the presence of) God. It is also used in a generic sense, to mean a sudden flash of insight, a realization of great significance; Archimedes jumping from his bathtub and shouting “Eureka!”

In Christianity, the Feast of the Epiphany celebrates the moment when human beings realized Jesus was the Son of God. It is a much older holy day than Christmas. The date, and the specific moment in the life of Jesus which is celebrated, vary among Christian denominations; this doesn't reflect theological differences so much as slightly different traditions.

Magi | Three Wise Men | Epiphany

Almost all Christians celebrate Epiphany in the first or second week of January and center their celebration around either or both of two events. The primary event is the visit of the Magi, when Christ's incarnation was made known to the Gentiles; the second, Christ's baptism by John the Baptist and the visible descent of the Holy Spirit upon Him.

Jesus was, first off, the Messiah of the Jews. But the Magi were Gentiles. They travelled a long distance, brought the baby gifts for a king, and worshipped him. This is the moment when the first Gentiles realized that Jesus was the Son of God, and that the Messiah would be their salvation, also.

There was not a single occurrence we can call the epiphany, for the sudden realization that Christ is the Son of God, sent to save the world, occurs many times in the Bible and countless millions of times in history. For instance, Simeon and Anna both recognized Jesus as the Christ when He was presented at the Temple, shortly after his birth. But to celebrate the phenomenon, we need to pick a specific event. So, the second act celebrated as The Epiphany is when God “officially” announced to the world that Jesus was his son: Jesus' baptism, when the Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove and God the Father's voice stated, “This is my Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

There was an epiphany for Paul, including a true appearance of the person of Jesus Christ, after the crucifixion. Every person who saw Christ and realized who He was had a moment of epiphany.

All of us have had an epiphany when we first knew the presence of the Holy Spirit. We might not have been struck from a horse, blinded, and lectured by a loud voice. It can be the turning point in a gradual process, so gentle that we cannot put our finger on a precise time. But when we are baptized, we either receive or acknowledge that we receive the Holy Spirit; we get a direct knowledge of God, from God. A spiritual telephone is installed in our mind.

It is different for different people; but anyone reading this page has almost certainly received this gift. If you don't realize it, or the concept puzzles you, you need to search it out within yourself. And many people discover that the voice of the Holy Spirit within them is something they have had for so long, that they simply take it for granted.



endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

James 1:19-21 (NIV): My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.


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“The mind of God is greater than all the minds of men, so let all men leave the gospel just as God has delivered it unto us.” ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon





Comments (14)

Topic: Page Two | Devotion for Day of January 6, 2014 | Daily Prayer
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David and Liz says...
What do the stars in the corner of some of the comments indicate?
6th January 2014 11:34am
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Mason says...
I hate to say this, but I'm not 100% sure. I think it is determined by whether or not a reply creates a rating - if you hit the reply link, you will see a "Rating" dropdown box.

Whether a person can rate their own post when they make it, I don't know. Maybe I will try to disable it.

I'll put a "3" rating here, just to see what happens.
6th January 2014 12:38pm
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Mason says...
What stars? Tongue
6th January 2014 12:48pm
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Mary Lewis (Scotia, US) says...
This is an interesting topic! I know many people in the gay community. Mary is right about them almost universally being loving, grateful, charitable; also willing to help others, cheerful, and sweet of spirit. This does not, however, NOT, negate the teachings (law, in fact) of the Bible. 1Cor..6:9-11 is the spot we all point to in our effort to stay within that law. How about also looking at 1Cor.6:15? Are we not joined with Christ, our bodies members of Christ ? How then can this be not ... Read More
6th January 2014 10:42am
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Michael A. Loos Sr. (West Babylon NY, US) says...
As I prepare emotionally for surgery later this afternoon- a total knee replacement- and bringing with me all the baggage of worry and anxiety which accompanies my concerns about anesthesia and a successful procedure-the meditation on the Epiphany and the in dwelling of the Holy Spirit within me have been quite comforting. Comforting to know I am in the care of the Creator of the Universe and I am glad to know I go into surgery hand in hand with my Savior. I feel calm, peaceful, and grateful to ... Read More
6th January 2014 9:16am
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Mason says...
Our thoughts and prayers will be with you, Michael.
6th January 2014 10:11am
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Elizabeth (North Harrow, UK) says...
I was really struggling today, and this prayer was an epiphany for me. I have been struggling with a troubled marriage which has brought me at some points to the depths if dispair. I have been actively praying every day for an epiphany for myself and my husband. Haven't used your website but receive emails from a different one. It restored my faith knowing The Lord God and the Holy Spirit are looking out for me.
Please pray for my family
6th January 2014 9:00am
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Mary says...
I usually find this website and morning prayers such an inspiring way to start mt morning ... But to clump "active homosexuals" in your prayer for lewd persons is down right wrong and cruel... When is love between 2 people ever wrong? You got it wrong today ... And I know my partner and I as well as the many other "active" LGBT I know are devout Christians who live better lives than most in our spirit of love, gratitude & charity ... We make a difference and Jesus loves ... Read More
6th January 2014 7:53am
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Mason says...
Love between two people is never wrong. I love gay people. I don't judge them and, since I don't have the temptation, simply don't think about it very much. But there is no doubt that having sex relations with a person of the same sex is a sin. 1 Cor. 6:9-11. I read and always will read what the Bible says instead of what I would like it to say. Since Christ told us that "lusting in our heart" is adultery, I find myself in the same boat as a gay person in a sexual ... Read More
6th January 2014 8:28am
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Phil True (Richmond VA, US) says...
What the Bible says also has to be viewed in terms of context and time. Most Biblical injunctions are clear—murder is obviously bad, adultery is condemned because it is so harmful not only to the individual but to marriage. Others are not followed, the various dietary rules, since conditions and knowledge have changed in 3000 years. When the OT was compiled and the NT written, no one knew why perhaps 3-4 percent of individuals were sexually attracted to the same sex. Today knowledge has ... Read More
6th January 2014 12:28pm
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Doreen Nambela (lusaka, Zambia) says...
I just discovered this website and page, it has been so inspiring, it is spiritual muscle building, life giving and transformation
6th January 2014 6:59am
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Christine Conkling (Walton, US) says...
Well... you have heard this before from me Mason. I have a real problem with you lumping the gay community in with prostitutes, adulterers, pornography and pedophiles. You said to be honest in the comment section so that is what I am being. God's blessings and have a great day! Chris Sad
6th January 2014 4:24am
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Mason says...
It isn't me who "lumps them in" together. I have no inherent personal bias about gay sex, one way or the other. I just read the Bible, trying to set aside my preconceptions in order to learn how to be obedient to God's will.

There is some part of the Bible that everyone wishes weren't there! We weren't given the Word to bolster our personal concepts of right and wrong. God gave us the law so that we could see our sin, and Christ so that we could be forgiven it.
6th January 2014 9:03am
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Tarbem says...
Our memory verse for this week sums up and essentially ends the debate using God's word.
6th January 2014 10:33am
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Gary Boteler (Slidell, US) says...
BlushI hit the wrong button on reply to Mary I meant thumbs up and may "G O D" bless You'll
5th January 2014 9:31pm
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Ann (AZ, US) says...
Please tell us what the "NET" Bible stands for. Thank you.
5th January 2014 12:34pm
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Mary (Scotia, US) says...
Thank you for this explanation today. I always think of this when I hear someone say "We are not of the world." We ARE of the world; we are here do our best to do God's will here "in this world". How can we think we are not OF it? Of course, I realize they usually mean we do not participate completely in the world's doings, and do not want to. However, I think it is confusing to new believers to hear this said. How can they possibly instantly conform to not being in ... Read More
5th January 2014 7:21am
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