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Monday, July 16, 2018

Daily Devotion for October 27, 2014

<i>Woman Kneeling in Prayer</i> by George Henry Broughton, ca. 1860.
Woman Kneeling in Prayer by George Henry Broughton, ca. 1860.



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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.


George Washington's Monday Morning Prayer

O  eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before thy Divine majesty, beseeching thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks, that it hath pleased thy great goodness to keep and preserve me the night past from all the dangers poor mortals are subject to, and has given me sweet and pleasant sleep, whereby I find my body refreshed and comforted for performing the duties of this day, in which I beseech thee to defend me from all perils of body and soul.

Direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the lamb, and purge my heart by thy Holy Spirit, from the dross of my natural corruption, that I may with more freedom of mind and liberty of will serve thee, the ever lasting God, in righteousness and holiness this day, and all the days of my life. In the name of Holy Christ, I pray,


To Be Free of Anxiety

Lord Jesus, I have allowed myself to be filled with depression and negativity over what I see as my failures in life, where I have been disappointed in something I wanted from this world. I find myself hiding, full of anger and self-righteousness and self-pity, and have turned my eyes away from you.

Give me the hope I need and help me never to be afraid to begin again. You told your disciples to be anxious for nothing. I give to you my anxiety, Lord Christ, and lay my troubles upon your mighty back; and I pick up your burden, for you have promised that it is light, and that you are gentle and kind. Let me work for your glory and not my own, that the anxiety that comes from pride and vanity and fear of others might be gone from me, and I may serve you in joy and peace.



[Let me seek out my self-righteousness and eliminate it.]

Blessing of Mark

O  Sovereign and almighty Lord, bless all your people, and all your flock. Give your peace, your help, and your love unto us your servants, the sheep of your fold, that we may be united in the bond of peace and love, one body and one spirit, in one hope of our calling, in your divine and boundless love.


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

Holy Spirit as a red dove

“Cheap Grace”

Christ said, “I came to bring a sword,” not, “I came to bring a lollipop.” People turn to the Bible for comfort and there is indeed a great comfort to be had in it. But that comfort is filled with a lot of “ifs” and if you read the comfort without the “ifs”, you are shortchanging yourself.

Blue Latin Cross

1 Thessalonians 1:2-5 (DP)

The Faithfulness of the Church

We always remember you in our prayers, giving thanks to God for every one of you, and especially recalling the steadfastness of your hope in Jesus Christ and the many good works that have flowed out of your faith and love. We think of you as our brothers and sisters, called by God to a Gospel not made of words alone, but a Gospel that came to you by the power and certainty of the Holy Spirit.

DP Literal Translation

2 We give thanks to god always concerning each (or all) of you, remembrance making in the prayers of us, without fail (or unceasingly)

3 remembering of you the work of faith and of the labor of love and the persistence of the hope of the

4 knowing, brothers being loved by God, the selection of you,

5 that (or because) the gospel of us not was created in you in word only but also in power and in spirit holy and in certainty much, just as you know what kind we were among you for you.

Notes on the Scripture

What a wonderful way to start a letter! We can see, right off the bat, why Paul was so successful at bringing people to Christ. The opening verses of 1 Thess. are positive and powerful. Unlike what one sometimes hears today, Paul's assurance that he and the other named authors remember the Thessalonians in their prayers is not polite jargon. It is a realistic and meaningful portrayal of how both the Pauline group and the Thessalonians entered the presence of God every day, trusting that He would hear their words, filled with certainty and hope that, if it were His will, He would respond to them.

There is a point to make from Greek grammar, so bear with us. English has an active and a passive voice, e.g. “I threw the ball” (active), and “The ball was thrown” (passive). In active voice, the subject does something; in the passive voice, something is done to the subject.

Ancient Greek had a third voice, called the middle voice, halfway in-between. “Pontius Pilate washed his hands” is a perfect example of how the middle voice was used in Classical GreekThe dialect in which the Bible was written is called Koine Greek. (Koine means “common”.) It is a less refined language than Classical Greek and the middle voice was greatly corrupted in Koine. But Paul uses the middle voice here with the refined inference that it had had in its classical days, 300 years earlier.; Pilate actively washes, but a part of him is washed.

In our passage today, Paul writes “we remember you” in this middle voice. The prayers to remember the Thessalonians are not only meant for God, but also for the people praying. He is saying that they themselves recall, with warmth and thanks, the great works and faith of the addressees, and implies that he considers these memories to be helpful to himself.

Some translations read “we remember without ceasing”; this comes across even stronger in 5:17, the famous words “pray without ceasing”. This must be taken as hyperbole, to some degree, and certainly as regards Paul's remembering the Thessalonians. Even at the extreme of literalism, a cloistered monk must sleep. But it is better taken to mean “regular, heartfelt, and at some length”.

We immediately run up against an unavoidable issue in Paul, that of predestination. There is a lot of support for the doctrine in Paul and we see it right away, for he describes the church members as “chosen” or “selected”. You don't have to be a Calvinist to be a Biblical Christian, but you can't deny the support it gets in the Bible. It is a topic, however, that demands a lengthy discussion, so we will reserve it for the future.

The good works and steadfastness of the Thessalonians are tied to the manner in which they received the Gospel, that is, the fact that the Holy Spirit came to dwell in them, the power of the Spirit, their ability to endure hardships, are all packaged together. Receiving Christ is a transformative experience, where the reborn Christian loves Christ with his full heart; they have not simply altered their behavior after coming to believe in a religion; they have been entirely changed.

endless knot

Daily Inspiration


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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

2 Corinthians 12:9: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

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Comments (4)

Topic: Page Two | Devotion for Day of October 27, 2014 | Daily Prayer
Kathryn Halfman (Wichita, US) says...
Re: The "unavoidable issue in Paul" of predestination. I just began the Book of Ephesians in my personal Bible reading and the first dozen verses of Chapter 1 are indicative of the point you make. This is a concept which is becoming increasingly disturbing to me. I agree that this might not be the appropriate time to discuss it but I hope you will seriously consider doing so sometime in the future.
27th October 2014 3:50pm
Mason Barge says...
Yes, we will discuss all of the issues in the area, since Paul is the stomping ground. Predestination, double predestination, persistence of the saints, irresistible grace, total depravity, unconditional election, pre-lapsarianism, limited atonement, the Reformed notion of the supremacy of God. These are all a lot simpler than they sound. And don't be disturbed, Kathryn. Theology is 95% nonsense, utterly irrelevant to Christian salvation, living, morality, or any actual important issue. I ... Read More
27th October 2014 8:03pm
Caryl (Fort Gaines, US) says...
I often heard that the great "I Am" statements of O.T. (Different language) also encompassed "I was" and "I will be". Is this similar to the middle voice in Greek?
27th October 2014 6:24am
Mason Barge says...
You're talking about two different things, voice (active/middle/passive) and tense (past/present/future). "To be" and other stative verbs (e.g., I become) don't have voice. They can be active or middle in form, but it doesn't alter the meaning. If you think about it you will see why. If you say "I am Bob", it does not describe an activity and can't be "active". It does not describe someone doing something to someone or something. Rather, it ... Read More
27th October 2014 9:38am
D Malmberg (Clover, US) says...
Thank you, Mason, for all the work you are doing on the translations. I have often wondered how what I read compares with a literal translation. I believe this will greatly benefit many of us who want to deepen their understanding.
25th October 2014 10:26am
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