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Daily Devotion for January 6, 2014
Feast of the Epiphany
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.)
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.
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.
[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,
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,
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
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.
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.
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.