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Daily Devotion for March 4, 2014
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.
All our prayers are with those who need to hear this today.
For a New Day
Lord, the newness of this day
Call me to an untried way;
Let me gladly take the road,
Give me strength to bear my load.
Thou my guide and helper be —
I will travel through with Thee.
[We will not hesitate to take a new road, with God at our side.]
To Lay Our Suffering at Jesus' Feet
Lord Jesus, you call me to live every aspect of my life in your presence, and so I come before you as I am. With the myrrh that the wise men carried I bring, too, the pain and sorrow and suffering that I have experienced. I lay them before you because they are all part of who I am. I ask that good may come from whatever negative things happen to me, knowing that nothing can ever separate me from your love.
The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant; Make me perfect in every good work to do your will, working in me that which is well pleasing in your sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
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.
“Satan does not want to defeat us. He wants to destroy us.”
Matthew 21:20-22 (ESV)
Jesus Curses the Fig Tree
When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Notes on the Scripture
We discussed the fig tree yesterday, but left out one of the most hopeful promises in the Bible, contained in this passage. “Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive.”
Well, we left something off, didn't we? “If you have faith.” Faith is the key issue in Christian life, for it is by faith that we are saved. And one might narrow faith down to this question: Do we believe that God brought his only Son, Jesus of Nazareth, back to life after he was crucified?
It is an accepted historical fact that Jesus existed and was crucified. Several reliable non-Christian sources record the event and none dispute it. There is no account of what became of the body, however, except in the Bible.
But what if there were? It wouldn't matter. If Jesus had been executed last month and there were videos of him walking around three days after he died, it would not make one bit of difference. Those whom God has not chosen for salvation would not have ears to hear it. They would simply say it was faked.
Remember the Parable of the Sower. (Matthew 13:1-23) Belief in Christ is a matter of faith, not of evidence. And it is the strength of our faith that determines the power of the Holy Spirit within us. When the apostles asked why they were unable to heal the epileptic boy, Christ tells them:
We can grow in faith. That is the meaning of the repeated references to a mustard seed. Once the seed is planted, if our mind stays open, God will nourish it and it will grow, every day. Our love of Christ is a living spirit that can grow and prosper in us. But it takes time.
We must not fret about our salvation, if we are pulled away from time to time. Our faith is never perfect. Satan is powerful on earth; he is seductive, persistent, and brilliant at persuasion. Christ will be with us, even when we stumble and have doubts. Paul himself said, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15)
But although stumbling in faith will not condemn us, it is not recommended! There is, John warns us, “sin that leads to death”. (1 John 5:15-17) Christ himself tells us that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. (Mark 3:29)
There has been a lot of speculation and difference of opinion on exactly what Christ and John meant. But why tamper with our salvation, once we understand the monumental importance of the gift we have received? If we love Christ, we want to get closer to Him. We change our lives to conform to God.