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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Daily Devotion for January 15, 2014

<i>The Baptism of Christ</i> by Pietro Perugino, c. 1483.
The Baptism of Christ by Pietro Perugino, c. 1483. (See Full-size)



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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 of St. Patrick

Lord, be with me and all who love you, this day:
Within us to purify us;
Above us to draw us up;
Beneath us to sustain us;
Before us to lead us;
Behind us to restrain us;
Around us to protect us.
In Christ's name we pray,



[Let us close our eyes for a minute and meditate on the Holy Spirit being within us, to purify us.]

Prayer to Grow Closer to God

Dear Lord, I am trying to do better and better each day; I am trying to walk with you and do your will, but sometimes it seems like I am slipping backwards no matter how hard I try. And I get confused sometimes; even if I want to do the right thing, I don't always know what it is.

So this is my prayer, heavenly Lord, for your help in straightening out my mind and straightening out my life. Lead me, Lord, and let your Holy Spirit guide me. Even if the correction is painful, help me to keep my mind open to your truth. Let me do your will in my every action, and know your will, that I might do it. Help me not be deceived by false assertions or glib intelligence, by those who would excuse or promote sinful actions, by those who simply do not know; and above all, help me not to deceive myself. Guide me away from excuses and rationalizations when I have sinned, but into your holy truth, that I might know my sin, and correct what I can, and ask forgiveness for what I cannot. By the grace and mercy of holy Christ, I ask this,



May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions today, and always.


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

baptism of Christ - Grebber
Baptism of Christ by Pieter de Grebber, c. 1625.

Psalm 4:1-3, 8 (NKJV)

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.

How long, O you sons of men,
Will you turn my glory to shame?
How long will you love worthlessness
And seek falsehood?
But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The Lord will hear when I call to Him.

* * *

I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Blue Latin Cross

John 1:32-34 (ESV)

The Holy Spirit Descends on Christ

And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

Notes on the Scripture

As we saw in the Christmas verses, the parents of John the Baptist knew that he was to be a special person. Elizabeth, his mother, was visited by an angel who announced the pregnancy to her and informed her of the child's special purpose. In today's scripture, we learn that John himself has some sort of first-hand knowledge; God has spoken to him. This revelation is not described in the Bible, but John says that he has received instructions and knowledge from God first-hand. It is, indeed, the only way he could know about his mission.

Baptism simple graphic

Although John has baptized many people with water by now, his mission is not simply to baptize Jews in a river. It is the means by which God has promised to reveal the identity of his son, the Christ. So when John baptizes Jesus and actually sees the Holy Spirit descend upon him, he knows that Jesus is the Christ for whom he has been waiting.

The passage doesn't say that the Holy Spirit took the actual form of a dove; there is a difference of opinion about this, although most of the iconography shows a white dove just above Jesus' head. It is certainly possible, from this passage, that a soft white ball of light descended, for instance, and a dove was the closest John could come to describing what it looked like. Or, it could have taken the actual form of a dove. It doesn't make any difference.

The choice of a dove to describe the Holy Spirit, however, is important no matter whether it is literal or figurative. When Julius Caesar was vying for political power, he was empowered by the appearance of an eagle. It is the greatest and most powerful bird of prey, and it was the very symbol of military might carried on Roman standards. A dove, by contrast, is the most peaceful of birds. It is preyed upon by falcons and eagles. It harms nobody. Its song is a soft and comforting cooing sound. It is beautiful, a symbol of love throughout the ages, and represents peace.

So the dove presages the great surprise that will characterize Jesus' life and ministry. The savior of the Jews does not come with a sword to kill the enemies of Israel, but carrying a cross that he will be killed upon, to defeat the real enemy of all humanity. He will not come on the wings of an eagle, fierce and mighty, but on the wings of a dove, vulnerable and loving. He will not bring death; he will defeat death.

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 (9)

Topic: Page Two | Devotion for Day of January 15, 2014 | Daily Prayer
Bob (Perth, UK) says...
When Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount - he said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged." (Matt 7:1), but He qualified this almost immediately by saying, "By their fruit you will recognize them." (Matt 7:16). This distinction is usually called discernment, which I think is a necessary Christian attribute. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Thank you for your work, it is a blessing to my family.
15th January 2014 6:43pm
Jim Wright (PLEASANTON, US) says...
I find it helpful to think about what Pope Francis meant when he said, “Who am I go judge.” My understanding is he was talking about judging “people” by their behavior as opposed to judging their behavior alone. When we judge a person by their behavior we are saying there is something wrong with “them” and it can be construed that we are therefore better than them. Of course, there is something wrong with all of us; we are all sinners. We are to love others even though they sin, ... Read More
15th January 2014 10:42am
Jim Wright (PLEASANTON, US) says...
Sorry for the couple of typos - bad typing behavior. Smile
15th January 2014 11:29am
Mason says...
You seem to have found a gray area in between judging and stating a belief. But I personally push the line farther toward not judging at all. The distinction between saying "you are a sinner" and "the action you engaged in is sinful" is cutting too fine a theoretical point. My reading overall is that other people's behavior is none of our business, unless perhaps they have asked us for counsel or personal advice. I am fairly confident about this when it comes to ... Read More
15th January 2014 12:10pm
Mason says...
but I will take this up as a project after I read completely through the NT about it. That is, try to summarize the complex advice about speaking out against sin, not judging other, etc.

Not sure how long it will take. My time is really stretched and it took a long time to get the last blog entry done, on the meaning of "My God why have you forsaken me."
15th January 2014 12:13pm
Jim Wright (PLEASANTON, US) says...
Oh, taking on the easier issue first!Smile
Thank you for this great forum, it is an important part of my daily spiritual journey.
15th January 2014 1:37pm
Christine Conkling (Walton, US) says...
Can you tell me where the artwork of the dove on this page comes from? I have seen it before on your site and I love it.Smile
15th January 2014 4:42am
Mason says...
I spent at least an hour or two trying to find out who painted this when I first downloaded it. The only person to claim it is a priest at a renegade Catholic Church, Fr. Jacob Lazarus, who uploaded it to WikiMedia as his own work, and I am 99% sure he did not create it as he claims.
15th January 2014 12:31pm
Thomas Kraft (Hornell NY, US) says...
I'm always conflicted by "judgmentalism". It sometimes sounds like people want to give blanket acceptance to any behavior because we, too, are sinners. Are we to have no standards simply because we're sinners? How then are we to share the Gospel, to ask people to turn from their sinfulness but accept that sinfulness at the same time. Sounds like a dog chasing its tail.
14th January 2014 12:00pm
Mason says...
I'll turn this over to the experts This isn't a direct answer to your question but just reading the approach of two master evangelizers made a light bulb go off in my head. How Andy Stanley and Tim Keller Preach with Non-Believers in Mind Unfortunately, almost all of the evangelism in the Bible is to monotheistic Jews, which isn't very instructive to us. But in one of my favorite scenes in the Bible, in Acts 17, Paul preaches a sermon to Greek philosophers in Athens. It doesn't ... Read More
15th January 2014 3:17pm
Jan Marra (La Salle, US) says...
What a challenge! We should try not to judge or be judgmental, but we also need to avoid temptation. To keeping yourself safe requires a judgement that may be based on looks alone. Choosing your friends and associates requires making a judgement of their character. In my opinion, the story of Adam and Eve is a story of peer pressure. The story has gone on through each of us. (IE; 'Here, try just a puff. It's great!'; 'Slip it in your pocket. Nobody's looking.'; 'So ... Read More
14th January 2014 11:22am
Margaret Flynn (Stanley, Canada) says...
Thank you for the insights of page 1 and the challange of page 2....Regarding page two I wonder if the problem with belief that some of us struggle with has something to do with todays way of not accepting objective truth as compatible with todays way of days past people were more naive.I struggle with accepting some of the basic tenants of faith that I at another level profess and believe.This is a problem for me that is regularly a subject of prayer.It's not that I think I ... Read More
14th January 2014 11:13am
Margaret Flynn (Stanley, Canada) says...
Thank You Mason for todays insights of page 1 and the challenge of page 2......Regarding page 2.I wonder if our tendency is to follow todays habit of not accepting the idea of objective truth .It seems so old fashioned!!!In todays world we are to clever for such simplistic naivety.I struggle with this faith problem every the point of finding it hard to accept some of the basic Christian tenants I proclaim as truth.Is there a solution ?I don't want to be such a doubter.I pray about ... Read More
14th January 2014 10:30am
mary Pregler (Glen Saint Mary, US) says...
Mathew 7:1-5 I followed your P.S. I don't think a day goes by that I am not challenged by this scripture. Thank You! it is worth many periods of meditation.
14th January 2014 8:09am
Sandra (Columbus, US) says...
Wow Mason, that give a person a lot to think about.

Thank you.
14th January 2014 7:50am
Jay says...
Thought provoking. I will think more about this. Great point.
14th January 2014 7:07am
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