Daily Devotion for February 19, 2015
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.
The beginning of this moving song is sung in Kituba, a language widely spoken in central Africa. The Kituba lyrics are (thankfully) translated onscreen, but we have supplied the English lyrics for It is Well with My Soul.
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
What ever my lot you have taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though the devil will ruin, though trials may come,
Let this blessed assurance control;
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And He shed His own blood for my soul.
It is well, with my soul.
It is well, it is well with my soul.
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin not in part but the whole.
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul.
And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
And the clouds be rolled back as a scroll.
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend;
Even so, it is well with my soul.
Music by Philip P. Bliss, 1876
Lyrics by Horatio G. Spafford, 1873
Prayer to Change to Better Serve God
Holy God, I believe that you will change people and many things, if asked and if it is your will. Change me Lord, if it is your will, for I would lead a better life. Touch me, I pray, great God whose touch transforms. Reach out your mighty hand to me, and to all who seek you in the name of your Son. Heal us, transform us, and make us whole; reach out your mighty hand to lift us up to serve you; touch me and all of us this very day, O Lord, that our own hands may bring your hope and healing to this broken world.
Prayer of Thanks
O Thou whose bounty fills my cup with every blessing meet! I give Thee thanks for every drop, the bitter and the sweet.
I praise Thee for the desert road, and for the riverside; for all Thy goodness hath bestowed, and all Thy grace denied.
I thank Thee for both smile and frown, and for the gain and loss; I praise Thee for the future crown and for the present cross.
I thank Thee for both wings of love which stirred my worldly nest; and for the stormy clouds which drove me, trembling, to Thy breast.
I bless Thee for the glad increase, and for the waning joy; and for this strange, this settled peace which nothing can destroy.
[Transform me and make me whole.]
Into your hands, O Lord, Jesus Christ, my God, I commend my spirit. Bless me and all those who pray in faith of You this day; save us and grant unto us everlasting life.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 29:1 (ESV)
He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck,
will suddenly be broken beyond healing.
Galatians 2:1-2 (DP Bible)
Paul Goes to Jerusalem (Galatians #11)
1-2 Fourteen years having passed, God called me to Jerusalem, and so I made the journey with Barnabas and Titus as companions. When I arrived, I spoke to the more prominent Christian leaders and fully expounded my Gospel to them. I did this in private, not because their prominence means anything to me – God gives no credence to the opinions or reputations of men! - but in case there were any point of disagreement. One purpose of my trip was unity, and a public debate would have rendered it pointless, or even detrimental. I do not want to run my race in vain, as it were.
1 Then after fourteen years again I went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking-along also Titus,
2 and I went up according to revelation and declared a Or submitted. to them the gospel which I preach to the Gentiles, but in private to the being-recognized bOr acknowledged, with a sense of having a favorable and/or widespread reputation. Alt. influential. This term can be read with a hint of sarcasm, especially in v. 6. , lest somehow in vain I am running cBy extension, exerting myself. Paul calls on his recurrent metaphor of “running the good race”. or ran.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul here continues to tell of his history, to convince the Galatians that the gospel he preached was a direct revelation from Christ — not something he was taught by men — and thus to be regarded in an entirely different category from the teachings of the false prophets that were leading many of them astray. And indeed, he is rather convincing, for he had spent only a two weeks visiting with the “apostles before me” — those who followed Jesus during His human life. Since then, Paul has been in Antioch for over a decade, building the greatest church in Christendom. (Note, however, that the heart of the church stays with Peter in Jerusalem; and when Peter moves to Rome, the home of the church moves with him.) It is unthinkable that his work was built upon an education of two weeks' duration, without books or formal curriculum.
An objection to Paul's apologiaApologia or apology: A formal and extensive defense of one's position. This is a second definition of “apology” in the dictionary. In fact, the entire branch of theology that deals with arguments for the existence of God, the divinity of Christ, etc., is called “Apologetics”. of his teaching is that it is self-authenticating. It is Paul testifying about his own truthfulness.
ut there is an argument in his favor, and this applies to the four Gospels, as well. Galatians was an early epistle and was widely circulated. And Paul wrote many more, including one to the Romans. Yet, there exists not a single word disputing him. Peter and James both wrote epistles long after Galatians. John probably outlived Paul by 30 years, and wrote three epistles himself. These were the three biggest names in the church at Jerusalem and, later, in Rome (Paul) and Antioch (John). They were also the people whom Paul is talking about in Galatians 1 and 2. Yet, none of them says a word criticizing him or disagreeing with him.
Consider the Gospels, while we are on the tangent. Early versions have been lost, but Mark was written while many people were still alive who had been in Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion, and many more who had been in Galilee and Judea during Christ's ministry. Yet, there is not a single document disputing them. And despite the severe opposition of the educated Jews of the Sanhedrin, there are no writings that factually contradict the Gospels.
And although Paul is not outright insulting to them, his words about the most revered of Christ's disciples are by no means flattering. His statement to the effect that “they did not add one word to my knowledge” would likely be taken as an affront, if it were untrue. And as we will see later in Ch. 2, Paul will in fact relate an incident where he corrected Peter's conduct; if this were untrue, we would expect to find a defense somewhere. Paul was fiery, but remembering the Gospels, Peter was no shrinking violet himself!