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Daily Devotion for March 15, 2015


<i>Going to Church</i> by William H. Johnson, ca. 1939
Going to Church by William H. Johnson, ca. 1939. Johnson was a remarkably talented primitive artist, whose difficult life bears some resemblance to Van Gogh’s. (See full-size)

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.




Call to Sunday Worship

O  Lord, I beseech you mercifully to hear my prayers, and the prayers of all your people who call upon you; and grant that we may both perceive and know what things we ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill them; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Amen.

Penitential Prayer of St. Augustine

O  Lord, The house of my soul is narrow; enlarge it that you may enter in. It is ruinous, O repair it! It displeases Your sight. I confess it, I know. But who shall cleanse it, to whom shall I cry but to you? Cleanse me from my secret faults, O Lord, and spare Your servant from strange sins.

Amen.

Thanks for the Life of Christ

Almighty God, I thank you for the life and teachings of your only Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He lived and walked as one of us, a mortal man who bled and felt pain, who felt anger and love, who would become tired and hungry. The world has seen no other love like this, for you willingly bore the pain of mortality, that we might be saved.

The beating, torture, and painful death that Christ suffered at our hands was a terrible thing; yet you considered his victory in overcoming that death worth the cost, so powerful was your love. I praise you for Christ's resurrection and victory, and for his promise to all people, that he will intercede for us at our death, and bring us to eternal life. Today I remember and celebrate His resurrection, giving all glory to Father, Son and Holy Spirit for this miracle and the redemption of our own lives. Through Christ I pray,

Amen.

Benediction

Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

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.



stained glass angel

Psalm 55:16-18 (NKJV)

As for me, I will call upon God,
And the Lord shall save me.

Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray, and cry aloud,
And He shall hear my voice.

He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me,
For there were many against me.


Blue Latin Cross

James 3:6-12 (NASB)

The Tongue [1]

6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.

8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing.

My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.


Notes on the Scripture

We have a guest commentary today, from Dr. Ken Boa of Atlanta.

Like the bit in a horse's mouth or the rudder on a ship, the tongue, in spite of its size, can direct the course of a human life. Like an uncontrollable fire started by the toss of a match, the tongue can put into motion a chain of events that goes beyond a speaker's sway. And like an animal that cannot be tamed, the tongue can do unexpected and often harmful things. “For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue.” (Jas. 3:7-8a).

Think for a moment of the birds, marine life, reptiles, and mammals of every description that have been brought under human dominion. The tamed elephants, lions, dogs, and seals at the circus give impressive and sometimes amusing testimony of our ability to train creatures that were formerly wild. But this is child's play compared to the formidable task of taming the tongue, because “the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Matt. 12:34). This is why the Proverbs say, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (Prov. 16:32).

As if the images in these verses were not enough, James adds another: “it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison” (Jas. 3:8b). Consider the plague of fiery serpents that were sent to punish the children of Israel because of the venom of their murmuring and grumbling in the wilderness (Num. 21; cf. 1 Cor. 10:9-11). Along similar lines, Paul paints this portrait using the vivid palette of the Psalms: “Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness” (Rom. 3:13-14).

And yet the tongue has the power to do great good. James recognizes this enigma in verses 9-12: With it we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Neither can salt water produce fresh.

Continued next Sunday . . .

Dr. Boa is devoted to a ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. He holds a B.S. in astronomy from Case Institute of Technology, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Ph.D. from New York University, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in England. I highly recommend a visit to his website, KenBoa.org, which is filled with free videos, written commentary, newsletters, etc.



endless knot

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Isaiah 26:5: The Lord humbles those who dwell on high and lays the lofty city low; He levels it to the ground and casts it down to the dust.



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