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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Daily Devotion for October 30, 2014


<i>Zephaniah, Joel, Obadiah, Hosea</i> by John Singer Sargent, ca. 1895. This is part of a frieze of the prophets in the Boston Public Library.
Zephaniah, Joel, Obadiah, Hosea by John Singer Sargent, ca. 1895. This is part of a frieze of the prophets in the Boston Public Library.

Prayers

Scripture

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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.

Amen.



Prayer to Walk with Christ Today

Dear Heavenly Father, I am learning to understand what your Word says. Yet so often I simply hear it or read it and think about applying it, but get no further. I want to do it and intend to do it Lord, but it is gone from my mind so easily. I am deceiving myself if I simply hear it and do not make it a part of my life.

Please help me today to take one truth and apply it to my circumstances. Oh blessed Holy Spirit, nudge me, remind me throughout my day, again and again, for I know I will find freedom in obedience to your Word. I pray, show me what I need to focus on, right now and wherever the day might take me.

Change my vision. Embolden me to practice what you reveal to me, for I am confident of the blessings that come from life in harmony with your Word. My life is yours: I give it to you, of my own free will, and pray you to take it up and show me your path. In the name of Jesus, I pray this with all my heart,

Amen.

Prayer for the Holy Spirit's Guidance

Gracious God,
Send your Holy Spirit to deepen my worship life.
Open my heart to the gifts and cultures which surround my church.
Open my heart to the people who are different from me.
In Jesus' name, I pray.

Amen.

Meditation

[Open my heart that I might learn.]


For Those Praying with Me

Heavenly Father, there are people praying with me, right now, whom I will never meet. I don't know their names, or what country they live in, or what they may look like, but I will know their souls, for we are brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that we might be united in the Holy Spirit, and that I will know and feel the kinship and love, in my spirit, of those who share these prayers with me.

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.



<i>The Conversion of Saul</i> by Parmigianino, ca. 1528.
The Conversion of Saul by Parmigianino, ca. 1528.

Proverbs 14:12 (KJV)

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man,
but the end thereof are the ways of death.


Blue Latin Cross

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 (DP)

The region is filled with people talking about how you took us in and how you turned away from dead idols to serve a real, living God. And now you await the coming of His Son, whom He raised from dead; for He will come from heavens to deliver you from God’s wrath.

Literal

9 [for] themselves about us they report what kind of reception we had with you, and how you turned to god from the idols to serve god living and true,

10 and to await the son of him from the heavens, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus the rescuer of us from the wrath coming.


Notes on the Scripture

The Purpose of Christian Unity

People are talking about the converts in Thessalonica. These are pagan Greeks: they have not accepted Christ and probably have not even heard the gospel. They have a favorable impression of the church, however, because of its hospitality to Paul, which they have learned about from other pagan Gentiles. They might not know who Jesus is, but they do know that well-behaved people have turned their backs on the myriad idol cults and begun to worship a living God.

Verse 9 does not even concern the gospel, per se, but one of the great lessons of the Old Testament. Remember the wonderful lines from Habakkuk?

What profit is the image, that its maker should carve it,
The molded image, a teacher of lies,
That the maker of its mold should trust in it,
To make mute idols?

Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake!’
To silent stone, ‘Arise! It shall teach!’
Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
Yet in it there is no breath at all.

Hab. 2:18-20 (NKJV). (If you missed it, we recently had a discussion of this passage.)

One might see the Old Testament as a process which was, in part, designed to teach humanity to worship God. It demonstrated the futility of idolatry. It demonstrated a God who was real, alive, and unique. These rumors circulating among the GrecianThose in Macedonia and Achaia, which comprise modern Greece. Greeks is an abbreviated version of the Hebrew experience. First, they will learn about God; then, they will be ready to learn about Christ.

The idea that good behavior might attract others to Christ is both Biblical and historical, evidenced in practice time and again. We will see it fleshed out more fully in later epistles, but Christ Himself was the author. In John 17, the “High Priestly Prayer” chapter, He prays:

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one . . . so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (Emphasis added.)

John 17:20-21. He then repeats it a second time, in vv. 22-25. Why does Jesus say that we (believers) should love one another and live in unity and harmony? So that the world will believe in Him!

As to the practical effect, let's look at two examples, one ancient and one contemporary. How did Christianity, a forbidden religion followed by a handful of people, become the dominant religion of Western Europe.?

In a practical sense, because the Roman persecution of them backfired. They behaved in such an extraordinary manner, both in their inoffensive lives and in their conduct when executed, that witnesses were astonished. As Frontline puts it, “The martyrs are a heroic minority. They don't represent a huge popular swelling. We don't have tens of thousands of people being martyred. What we do have, is tens of thousands of people admiring the few who are martyred.” From Jesus to Christ: The Martyrs.

We are out of time, so . . . continued tomorrow.



endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“Time Does Not Cancel Sin”

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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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