Daily Devotion for March 9, 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.
Ancient Prayer - For Support of the Holy Spirit
O Educator, be gracious to thy children, O Educator, Father, Guide of Israel, Son and Father, both one, Lord. Give to us, who follow thy command, to fulfill the likeness of thy image, and to see, according to our strength, the God who is both a good God and a Judge who is not harsh.
Do thou thyself bestow all things on us who dwell in thy peace, who have been placed in thy city, who sail the sea of sin unruffled, that we may be made tranquil and supported by the Holy Spirit, the unutterable Wisdom, by night and day, unto the perfect day, to sing eternal thanksgiving to the one only Father and Son, Son and Father, Educator and Teacher with the Holy Spirit.
Prayer of Thanks
Thank you, oh source of all abundance, for surrounding me with good things. But help me to remember that nothing of earthly value owns timeless truth. Let your immeasurable blessings transform how I perceive material benefits. Teach me to appreciate unchanging treasures: the wealth of your compassion, the grandeur of your wisdom, and the richness of reconciliation.
Lighten my selfishness with simple faith. Help me to reveal your love more joyously. And strengthen me in grace, oh God, always to give the best that serves you most in humble gratitude.
[Let your blessings transform how I perceive material benefits.]
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip me with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in me what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The Other Life
C. S. Lewis wrote: “The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.”
The identity of “that other voice” is obvious. That other, larger, stronger, quieter life will come to us only from the Lord speaking to us, as we seek Him in prayer. The sooner in the day we call upon the Holy Spirit, the more blessed it will be.
Galatians 2:19-20 (DP Bible)
Death and Rebirth  (Galatians #20)
19-20 Saul the Pharisee is no longer alive. I died on the cross with Christ. For as long as I dwell in this flesh, I live in Christ, who handed Himself over for my sake, out of love for me; and He lives in me.
19 For I by aOr through. law to law died that in god I might live. With Christ I have been co-crucified
20 and live no longer I, but lives in me Christ, and what now I live in flesh, in faith I live in the of the son of god the loving me and handing-over himself for me.
Notes on the Scripture
his verse brings up one of the constantly confusing issues in Christian dogma, and it makes its full-fledged debut in Galatians 2. We constantly hear and say we have died to the flesh, or Christ lives in us, or we live in Christ. And, probably, most people have an idea of what it means, or what they think it means. But it definitely can bear some examination, both in theory — what exactly is Paul getting at? — and in practice — what does this mean for me and other Christians?
We encounter the general idea for the first time when Jesus talks to Nicodemus in Chapter 3 of John:
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:3-5 NASB)
Jesus died and was resurrected, giving a more literal aspect to His words and, perhaps, making them fully understandable for the first time. Paul’s primary theological focus centers always on the cross; during His human life, Christ could speak only prospectively on certain issues, and could expect only limited understanding. His words were often preparatory.
But after His death and resurrection, He could speak and be understood more clearly, for two reasons. First, of course, his death and resurrection could not be convincingly taught until after they happened. Secondly, as Christ had said, full knowledge could not come through one's mind, but only through one's spirit, which would be informed by a Spirit sent by the Father after Christ had ascended.
But Christ cannot talk to us from heaven, in the sense that our eyes and ears can see and hear Him. He is not physically present. The Holy Spirit may speak to our spirit; but where He speaks to us in words is in the post-Gospel books of the Bible — the Epistles of Paul being the bulk of them.
Paul did not die bodily on the cross, obviously. But if we say that our rebirth in Christ is a symbolic participation in Christ's resurrection, Paul's rebirth was partially an actual death and resurrection. He was blinded for three days, and then his sight was restored. His vision “died” for three days.
Furthermore, his resurrected vision was glorified, just as our bodies will be; for Paul was thereafter able to see Christ. He was empowered, by direct revelation, to deliver Christ's post-ascension teachings to us. “So is it with the resurrection of the dead. . . . It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)
We undergo a symbolic death and resurrection, also, in baptism. The most flamboyant denominations go to a river and are physically immersed; the most restrained have a sprinkle of water on the head. But the symbolism is the same; whether some sort of rebirth occurs symbolically during the baptism, or is simply demonstrated by it and occurs within the soul of the person at another time, the idea is that we get wet. Nobody stays dry during birth!
Continued tomorrow . . .