Daily Devotion for March 10, 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.
A really beautiful worship video from Shelly Nirider.
Prayer for This Day
Heavenly Father, let me do my work this day; and if the darkened hours of despair overcome me, may I not forget the strength that comforted me in the desolation of other times. May I still remember the bright hours that found me walking over the silent hills of my childhood, or dreaming on the margin of a quiet river, when a light glowed within me, and I promised my early God to have courage amid the tempests of the changing years.
Spare me from bitterness and from the sharp passions of unguarded moments. May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit. Though the world knows me not, may my thoughts and actions be such as shall keep me friendly with myself.
Lift up my eyes from the earth, and let me not forget the uses of the stars. Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself. Let me not follow the clamor of the world, but walk calmly in my path.
Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am; and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps the kindly light of hope.
And though age and infirmity overtake me, and I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me still to be thankful for life, and for time's olden memories that are good and sweet; and may the evening's twilight find me gentle still.
[May I remember that true riches are of the spirit.]
For the Forgotten
O merciful God, take pity on those souls who live this day alone, without friends or family, forgotten by all. Bring the comfort of your Spirit to them, I pray, and let them know the most blessed company of all. Grant them to find the consolation of friendship in this life, and bring them into the light of your word, so that when they pass from this life, they may find eternal joy.
Now, to God the Father, who first loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved; to God the Son, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood; to God the Holy Ghost, who sheddeth the love of God abroad in our hearts, be all love and all glory in time and to all eternity.
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.
Psalm 118:19-21 (ESV)
Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
Matthew 21:42-46 (ESV)
Jesus Criticizes the Pharisees in the Temple
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord's doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet.
Notes on the Scripture
The prophecy Jesus quotes is from Psalm 118. When it was written, the cornerstone represented King David; the building erected upon it was the Temple or, in a broader sense, Israel. So the Pharisees believe that this psalm supports their authority. But Christ is the new King, and Israel's role has been superseded by his coming. The Pharisees are, ironically, looking upon the real cornerstone of God's plan for salvation, Jesus of Nazareth, whom they have every intention of trying to destroy.
The sentence beginning, “And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces,” is of doubtful origin and does not appear in the early, more authoritative manuscripts of Matthew. We can read it to mean that those who fall on the stone — those who will be responsible for the crucifixion — will be broken, and that those upon whom the stone falls — those whom Christ judges at the second coming — will be destroyed. But it is an awkward addition to the parable.
Christ's primary point is to tell the Pharisees that they have lost their leadership and no longer represent God's covenant with mankind. “By their fruits, you shall know them,” and the fruits of the Pharisees have been hypocrisy and a failed attempt to find righteousness before God by works. And it is in rejecting, judging and executing Christ that their hypocrisy becomes starkly illuminated. They have become so corrupt that they really do not serve God at all; they serve the system because it lets them ride the biggest elephant in the parade. They are victims of their pride.
The hostility of the Sanhedrin to Christ has reached a new level. No longer do they plot how they might be rid of him; they know how they can be rid of him and are now ready to take action. They would arrest him on the spot, but are restrained by their fear that the crowd might be sympathetic to him. They just need to get him alone. (And they will need to find someone who knows him well to betray him, so that they can locate him and identify him.)