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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Daily Devotion for February 5, 2014

<i>Creation of Adam</i>, mosaic in Monreale Cathedral, Sicily, ca. 1180.
Creation of Adam, mosaic in Monreale Cathedral, Sicily, ca. 1180.



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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.


An Old American Prayer for the Work Day

Almighty God, thank Thee for the job of this day. May I find gladness in all its toil and difficulty, its pleasure and success, and even in its failure and sorrow. I would look always away from myself, and behold the glory and the need of the world, that I may have the will and the strength to bring the gift of gladness to others; that with them I stand to bear the burden and heat of the day and offer Thee the praise of work well done.


For Strength and Peace

O  Thou who art my quietness, my deep repose,
My rest from strife of tongues, my holy hill,
Fair is Thy pavilion, where I hold me still.

Back let them fall from me, my clamorous foes,
Confusions multiplied;
From crowding things of sense I flee, in Thee I hide.
Until this tyranny be overpast,
Thy hand will hold me fast;

What though the tumult of the storm increase,
Grant to Thy servant strength, O Lord, and bless with peace.

~ based on Toward Jerusalem by Amy Carmichael


[Let us close our eyes and think about how God gives us peace in true wisdom, when the “strife of tongues” from our “clamorous foes” —all the foolish things we hear every day from ungodly people — multiply our confusion and crowd our senses. ]


Oh Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you”; I pray that I and your whole church, the body of all faithful people, will know your peace, and live in harmony and unity, one with another, in accordance with your wishes. This I pray to you, who lives and reigns forever.


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

Psalm 1 from the <i>Alphonso Psalter</i>, English ca. 1284.
Psalm 1 from the Alphono Psalter, English ca. 1284. Notice David with his harp, rendered inside the initial “B” (Beatus vir qui non abiit in consilio impiorum — “Blessed is he who walks not in the counsel of the impious.” We also see young David at bottom left with his sling, preparing to meet Goliath (on the right).

But I Don't Understand

“The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”

~ Søren Kierkegaard

Blue Latin Cross

2 Timothy 3:12-16 (ESV)

How to Read the Bible [1]

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the servant of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Notes on the Scripture

There are three fundamental rules of reading the Bible, for Christians:

1. The Bible is the Word of God;
2. The Word of God is what is actually written in the Bible;
3. What is not written in the Bible is not the Word of God.

The first rule is the most basic. Anyone who does not believe it is not a Christian. Christianity is, in its philosophical basis, a discipline of obedience to God's word. Once a person decides that they will follow this part of the Bible but not that part, they have broken the discipline, and replaced the Word of God with words created in their own mind. They do not worship the God who said, “I am.” For the original and only source of our knowledge of God is the Bible; and if it is not inerrant, then any part might be erroneous. To breech the integrity of the Bible and accept less than its entirety is to worship a manmade god. It is a decision to worship what one sees in the mirror as a greater authority than the inspired Word.

To clarify terms, the word “inspired” is very narrow and specific in Christian dialogue. It means, actually, the exact same thing as “breathed by God” (compare “respiration”) and refers to men who wrote a book under God's direct hand. “Breathed” was a Hebrew idiom for “spoken”, the idea being that the very breath responsible for a spoken word was from the “lungs” of God — only God uses spirit, not lungs, to speak. Do not confuse it with the common use of “inspired”, which has broadened over the years to mean any brilliant and intuitive action.

(Note: Theologians define four levels for the knowledge of God: “Revelation”, meaning words God spoke in his own voice, such as the ten commandments; “Inspired,” which means God directed a human hand to write or say something; “Illuminated,” which means that the Holy Spirit has given a reader/writer understanding of something that his mind alone could not grasp; and “Interpretation,” which is using one's mind to explain the meaning of the Bible.)

The quote from 2 Timothy is critical to understanding Christianity, for it self-validates the Bible. One may disagree with it (and many people do), but then the Bible becomes just another book. Paul tells us, though, that we must take it all or take none of it. For it is only by the Bible that we know anything of Christ; and if the Bible is not inspired, we lose Christ.

The doctrine of Biblical inspiration is separate from arguments over literalism; inspiration tells us that the Bible is truth, from start to end. But the Bible is a book of supernatural truth, not scientific or historical truth. One might believe, for example, that the length of the “day” in which God created various parts of the universe means something different than the 24-hour period of the earth's current rotation, without affecting the truth of Genesis 1. There are myriad and complex doctrines, all with five-dollar words attached, about how one might interpret the Bible; but getting bogged down in them is a distraction from our life in Christ.

I had intended to talk about Rule 3, actually, but we are out of room and have not even finished with Rule 1. We will continue this on our next free dayDaily Prayer takes a break from studying a specific book — currently Matthew — on Wednesday and Sunday., Sunday.

Well, there is room for one last verse. Look at this lovely quote, written by Peter: “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth forever. ” (1 Peter 1:23-25)

endless knot

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Acts 2:40 (NET): “Save yourselves from this perverse generation!”

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Comments (11)

Topic: Page Two | Devotion for Day of February 5, 2014 | Daily Prayer
Phil True (Richmond VA, US) says...
Your remark that we could use a leader like Washington might have been in the spirit of any of our presidents that succeeded Washington should have more been like him. However, taken literally you imply that President Obama has neither the “intelligence or integrity” to lead the nation. If so, I don’t find it particularly useful in the context of your daily prayer and meditations. As stated previously, these comments in no way diminishes the value of your daily column for me and many ... Read More
5th February 2014 5:36pm
Mason Barge says...
It was just a personal comment to Virginia. I try to stay out of partisan politics. But in a very non-partisan sense, I don't think that very many politicians today, or in the past 20 years, have had anything approaching the integrity of George Washington.
5th February 2014 5:56pm
Phil True (Richmond VA, US) says...
[continued] Unless one lives without newspapers, magazines, TV, radio or the internet, individuals at work and in daily life including our children are “immersed” in an environment of materialism and immorality. Your reference to suggest that the public school system is somehow a “bad” environment without a counterbalance of God seems to me to be highly misleading. In a response to a Victoria’s comment, you noted that George Washington was “unbelievable, truly a great man.” Then ... Read More
5th February 2014 5:34pm
Phil True (Richmond VA, US) says...
Your Feb.4th comments on “Teach Your Children Well” states that atheism is “tacitly” taught in the public schools and that “Children are required to spend their days immersed in a culture of materialism and immorality, without any mention of God to counterbalance it.” As my late and much-missed wife of 63 years who worked for 30 years in the public school system, I have some understanding from her and her co-workers of the public school system and what is taught, enhanced by my ... Read More
5th February 2014 5:30pm
Mason Barge says...
Morality without God is an illusion.
5th February 2014 6:00pm
Suzanne (Indian River, US) says...
Patti - the 2 symbols below the song and above the lyrics will take you into u-tube to hear the songs. That is what I have to do everyday on my IPad. Hope that helps.
Mason, thank you for the instruction today about the Bible. Looking forward to the rest of it!
5th February 2014 9:01am
Mason Barge says...
Suzanne - have you tried the Mobile framework? Only this page and the daily devotion is available on it right now, but an Ipad should play the music without using a link. I'd be interested to know if yours does.

Just look for Daily Devotional (Mobile) in the dropdown navigation.
5th February 2014 9:28am
patti (US) says...
Thank you for the daily prayers. I have made it a habit to start every day with this site. I am however unable to listen to the music on my kindle fire hd. Does anyone know how to fix this problem?
5th February 2014 8:13am
Mason Barge says...
Use the blue Maltese cross below the music. It links to YouTube, which your Kindle should play.

Or, try the new Daily Devotion for Mobile. Your device will have to be able to install Adobe Flash Player, though, and Kindles can be tricky about this. But it's worth a try:
5th February 2014 9:33am
patti (US) says...
Thank you mason! The link worked fine...
6th February 2014 5:32am
helen timmler says...
Again, thank you for the music selection today Mason. Whitney's voice and the words reached the depths of my soul this morning. Beautiful!!
5th February 2014 6:06am
Sandra (Columbus, US) says...
As a product of 8 years of parochial school and the remainder in public school I have experienced both worlds. In my younger years at Catholic School, we were definitely given building blocks to a relationship with the Lord. However, I have learned more in the past few years as a 50 something child than all the 8 years of grade school. Times have changed so drastically now though, which is so sad. I feel it is up to us as parents, grandparents, friends, etc to encourage our youth into the right ... Read More
4th February 2014 8:23am
Mary Lewis (Scotia, US) says...
Thank you, Mason, for today's lessons! Our children are our future and you are so correct to ask us all to support education alternatives, whether withh financial aid, or simply by helping in their everyday spiritual lives. Also, you may be sweating bullets, but we love what you teach us! We are with you every day, thanks for all you do, with or without ammunition! :0)
4th February 2014 5:12am
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