Daily Devotion for March 12, 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.
This rendition of the tuneful Swing Down Chariot, with its locomotive rhythm, will put some steam in your engine!
For Joy Among the Children of God
Heavenly Father, you take no pleasure in wickedness and evil has no place in your kingdom; the boastful will not stand in your sight. You hate all the workers of evil. You destroy those who lie and defraud; you abhor the bloodthirsty and deceitful.
Bless me that I will not be among them, for I would come into your house in the multitude of your mercy. In fear of you and in the hope of mercy, I worship you. Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness. Make Your way straight before my face. Let all those rejoice who put their trust in you; let them shout for joy, because you defend them; those who love your name, grant them mercy and joy.
And evermore let your word spread throughout the world, and make me your servant in this task. In Christ's name, I pray,
Thanks for God’s Word
I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that the things which were hidden from the wise and prudent, and which many prophets and kings desired to see and could not, are revealed unto us babes in your written Word. I thank you that I have the Scriptures to search, and that they testify of Christ, for in them I can find eternal life.
I thank you, Father, for the preservation of your teachings through time, and despite the constant efforts of men to destroy it or change it, that through them I might find patience, and hope, and truth, and life. And having learned so much, I thank you that I can hear with my ears your wonderful works, the testimony of the earth and the spirit, like a light shining in darkness. In Christ’s name, I pray and render you thanks,
[That which was hidden from the wise is revealed in Christ.]
O good shepherd, seek me out, and bring me home to your fold again. Deal favourably with me according to your good pleasure, until I may dwell in your house all the days of my life, and praise you forever and ever with them that are there.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Until God Comes Down
“Oh, men and women, pray through; pray through! Do not just begin to pray and pray a little while and throw up your hands and quit; but pray and pray and pray until God bends the heavens and comes down.”
~ Reuben Archer Torrey, American evangelist (1856-1928)
Galatians 2:21 (DP Bible)
Rejecting Grace (Galatians #22)
21 Don’t you see that if we continue acting like we expect to find righteousness in the law, we reject God’s grace? For if we can find righteousness by the law, Christ died in vain.”
21 Not I reject the grace of god for if through law righteousness, then Christ in vain died.
Notes on the Scripture
Sometimes we get a bit ahead of ourselves, so we should examine the basic issue Paul is discussing, to make sure we are all on the same page. Judaism taught, and continues to teach, that God gave to MosesThese are contained in the last four books of the Penteteuch: Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers. a comprehensive set of laws about many aspects of life. The Pharisees, forebears of today's Orthodox Jews, further believed that groups of great teachers, rabbi’s, have refined the laws given to Moses and shown people how to apply them to specific situations in everyday life.
Here is the key point: Jews believe(d) that, by following these laws to the precise letter, God would find them worthy and reward them. And if they should make a mistake, there were sacrificial laws that told them how to purify themselves from the stain of sin.
Paul teaches us that, first, the law of Moses cannot make us righteous before God, because we are incapable of keeping it. This was part of the meaning of Christ's teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. He demonstrated that compliance with God's requirements for holiness is beyond human power, that the Jews were flagrantly disregarding the spirit of the law. Men, given a set of specific rules, will inevitably come to meet the physical letter of the law, but their hearts will roam away from God.
But Paul goes much farther. He teaches that the very purpose of the law was to demonstrate to humanity that they are sinful, that they cannot be holy before God by their own action. It is humanly impossible not to sin; and the way God taught this to the Hebrews was by giving them laws that they invariably would not be able to follow.
Thus, the law leads only to death. Trying to live by the law and relying upon one's efforts to meet it only insures that one will offend God. But it is good, because even if we are dying under the law, at least we know it! And when we realize we are dying, we are then ready to fall on our faces before God, in faith, knowing that only He can save us by forgiving us. We are ready for Christ.
The moral law remains in effect. We do not think we will saved by following it. We try to follow it out of love for Christ, not because our compliance will be sufficient to save us.
The ritual law, however, a huge body of purification rites set out in the Mosaic Law, was superseded by the death of Christ. His sacrifice was perfect for all sin, for all time. We have no need to follow them; they are empty and meaningless gestures. One of the best known is eating pork. We can eat pork. We can refrain from eating pork. There is no longer any religious significance whatsoever. (Matt. 15:11)
So for anyone who has been confused as to why Paul condemned Peter for eating only with other Jews, this is why. Not eating with Gentiles was a requirement of the Mosaic Law. After Christ's ascension, there is nothing wrong with Jews eating together. It has no meaning one way or the other. But when Peter did it, and did it all the time, his actions made it look like he was following the Law of Moses, that it still had power. He was preaching one thing and doing another; he was undermining the Gospel he and Paul were preaching.
It is important to understand the preceding paragraph, for it states the major issue in Paul's mind. There was another reason, however, that Peter was wrong to do it: Love and fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ is evidence of our faith. (E.g. 1 John 1:7) It is the will of Christ that we love and engage in fellowship with one another, fully; to create any group exclusiveThere are sometimes specific groups formed to deal with specific issues, such as alcoholism, victims of abuse, etc. One would have to think that such groups are not contrary to Christ's commandment; but we should always be careful in this regard. of other believers is contrary to His will.