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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Daily Devotion for March 23, 2014


Jesus Carrying Cross | stained glass, Montrose
Stained glass window of Jesus carrying the cross, Montrose, France, ca. 1550?

Prayers

Scripture

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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.

Amen.

Our Virtual Sunday Church this week may be in a gymnasium, but the Concordia College Choir is terrific. Sing along!



For a Heart Open to God's Word

God, as you gave us the sun to lighten our days, so you have given us your Word to lighten our minds and our souls. I pray that you will pour out on me your Spirit as I pray today, that my heart and mind may be opened to your Word, and that I may learn and accept your will for my life.

Shine within my heart, loving God, the pure light of your divine knowledge; open the eyes of my mind and the ears of my heart to receive your Word, this day and always,

Amen.

Meditation

[Open the ears of my heart.]


Sunday Prayer of Praise to God's Glory

Heavenly God, you are the King eternal, immortal and invisible. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God; the same yesterday, today, and forever.

In times long past did you lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands: Yet they will perish, but you will endure; yes, all of them will grow old like a garment, as a coat you will change them, and they will be changed; but you are the same, and your years will have no end.

You alone are God, and do not change; and because of this, we may hope to be preserved. Are you not from eternity, O Lord our God, our Holy One? The everlasting God, even the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, who does not faint nor grow weary? There is no searching out your understanding, mighty Lord, but by our praise we may glorify your Holy Name, now and all our lives.

Amen.

Confession

Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the week and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.

Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me today and throughout the coming week, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.

Amen.

Blessing

The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.

Amen.


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.



endless knot

Where You Are Going

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

~ Dr. Seuss


Blue Latin Cross

Romans 12:14,19-21

Your Enemies

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

*      *      *

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ”Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” [Proverbs 25:21-22]

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


Notes on the Scripture

One of the many confusing issues in Christian life is, “Who shall I forgive”? We feel that we must repent and ask God for his forgiveness, and then we pray “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”, so should we forgive others only when they say that they are sorry? When they promise not to do it again? Certainly, this makes sense. What good is it to forgive someone who is just going to do it again?

Or does our obligation of forgiveness extend to those who profess Christ? This also makes sense. We are, after all, supposed to treat fellow Christians as brothers and sisters, and we know that they are trying, as we are, to live good lives.

But the answer to the question “Who shall I forgive” is much harder, for the answer is “everyone”. Jesus said it. Here, Paul repeats it and elaborates upon it. There is no room for doubt in such a plain statement: “Bless those who persecute you.”

Is this the hardest lesson in the Bible? Possibly. It is the ultimate acceptance of Romans 12:1, “present your bodies as a living sacrifice.” It is so difficult to follow that very few churches will even preach it, for fear that the congregation will say “that's ridiculous” and leave.

But this is exactly what Paul, and Peter, and Jesus himself did. For most of us, it is a goal that we must strive towards, and it becomes extraordinarily hard when heinous crimes are involved. You will find Christian teachers finding a thousand excuses why this does not apply, for example, to foreign Muslims who hijack aircraft and fly them into buildings.

But that is exactly what Christ calls upon us to do: not to be overcome by evil — in this case, not to let the most evil of actions separate us from Christ — but, instead, to overcome evil with good. Hatred and the desire for vengeance can be an overwhelming emotion. But when we experience it, we must pray that the object of our hatred be blessed; for this is Christ's command to us.



The Archangel Michael by Bernadino Zenale, ca. 1480.

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

Jude 1:17-18: Remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.



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