Daily Devotion for March 23, 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.
Gordon Mote, a wonderful baritone singer and pianist, was born blind.
I stood in the courtroom, the judge turned my way -
It looks like you're guilty now what do you say?
I spoke up, Your Honor, I have no defense;
But that's when mercy walked in.
Mercy walked in and pleaded my case,
Called to the stand God's saving grace.
The blood was presented that covered my sin,
Forgiven when mercy walked in.
I stood there and wondered how could this be,
That someone so guilty had just been set free.
My chains were broken I felt born again,
the moment that mercy walked in.
The blood was presented that covered my sin,
Forgiven when mercy walked in.
Music and Lyrics by Charles Bosarge and Philip Johnson
Come to Our Aid
In the morning Abraham called upon you on the mountain top and you answered him, O lover of men; and in the morning I call upon you, come to my aid and the aid of all your servants, O God, full of mercy, hallelujah, and have mercy upon us.
For Past Mistakes
Holy Jesus, help me to surrender past mistakes; not to dwell on them, but to accept your forgiveness in the certainty of hope. The past is over and gone forever. Having made such restitution as is your will, there is nothing more I can do about them. Lift the burden of my past failures from my spirit. Let me go forward in faith. Clear the clouds from my path and lighten my step. If you do not reproach me, let me hear no reproach from myself or any other person, but only your promise of new life. And bring your Word and your light and your forgiveness to all who have wrecked their lives, I pray; for your power is greater than sin, and there no human being you cannot heal, no matter how wretched and vile, if they only surrender their lives to you.
[Have I let go of guilt over past misdeeds?]
Now to him who is able to keep us from stumbling and to present ourselves blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.
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.
Leave It Like God Sent It
The mind of God is greater than all the minds of men, so let all men leave the gospel just as God has delivered it unto us.
~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Galatians 3:6-9 (DP Bible)
The True Sons of Abraham (Galatians #28)
6-9 Recall that Abraham “trusted God, and his faith was credited to him as righteousness” -- not his obedience to the law, because Abraham lived before the law was handed down. God actually foretold the Gospel to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed in you.” The same faith that blessed Abraham now blesses Jew and Gentile alike, and the true sons of Abraham are all who are justified by such faith.
6 Just as Abraham believed in god, and it was credited hOriginally a numerical term. One could read it as an accounting metaphor, so the English credited is doubly-accurate. Older translations use “reckon”, but in modern popular English (at least in the U.S.) “reckon”, in its original sense, is disappearing, and many will not understand it as an accounting term. to him as righteousness.
7 You know iOr Know. This could be either a command (imperative) or a simple (indicative) statement. therefore that the by faith, these sons are of Abraham.
8 And knowing-in-advance the scripture that by faith justifies j Poss. makes upright. Paul takes a verb meaning “to vindicate”, as in a court of law, and applies it to God’s judgment. We know and use this word, translated “justify”, in the context of Christian theology; and it seems to be Paul who originated the usage. the Gentiles god pre-evangelized to Abraham, “Will be blessed in you all the nations,”
9 so the by faith are blessed with the faith of Abraham.
About the Daily Prayer BibleThe “Daily Prayer Bible” is a paraphrase translation. This means accuracy to the original text has been sacrificed, to make it more readable and readily understood. This is especially useful in the Epistles of Paul. Verses are often out of order and often explanatory matter is included in the actual translation.
It is part of a larger work, DP 3-Column Bible, a Bible translation with 3 different levels of literal accuracy, which you can access by clicking the link at the bottom of the Scripture section. We call the most readable and least accurate translation the “Daily Prayer Bible”. The middle translation (“The American Bible”) is what is called a “literal” translation, accurate to the original text but using English grammar and idioms.
The third translation is a unique transliterative text, called “Verbatim Bible”, that has an unparalleled degree of accuracy but is not readable except with difficulty. It gives the non-Greek-reading user the ability to see the inaccuracies and ambiguities that become invisible in even the best so-called “literal” translations, such as the NASB or our own American Bible..
Notes on the Scripture
In the 1st century A.D. (and at many other times), Jews traced their spiritual status to their biological relationship to Abraham. Abraham was the patriarch of Judaism, the Source. Matthew 1 traces Jesus' lineage to Abraham, because this is the ultimate test of Hebrew identity. One of Matthew's purposes was to convince the Jews that Jesus was the true king promised to them in Scripture; and such a king had to be descended from David, and thus from Abraham.
ne can only imagine the shock, then, when Paul tells the Jews that they are no longer Abraham's heirs; they are not his “true sons,” at least, not by dint of their blood relationship to him. Paul has already kicked the legs out from under the law of Moses; now he does the same to the very concept of Judaism. Paul has been vehement that Judaism, as a religion, died with Christ; and now, he tells us that Judaism as an ethnicity died as well. Yes, people continued (and still continue) to call themselves Jewish and to practice the religion, but both the ethnic heritage and the religious observance have lost their meaning before God.
Paul is hitting right into the core of the Judaizers, who were trying to convince Gentile converts that, to be justified before God, they must be circumcised and follow Jewish laws about diet, purification, etc. Paul not only refutes this, but also teaches the exact opposite: We Jews can retain our status as Abraham's descendants and heirs, but only if we cease to rely on the law of Moses. A pagan relying on his faith in Christ is now a person who is right before God; a Jew who is relying on the law of Moses is now a person who is condemned.
To us, there is more than a historical or theological message here; for Paul is telling everybody to have the faith of Abraham. What is this faith? First, of course, Abraham believed what God said absolutely, positively, to the point where he was willing to sacrifice his precious son Isaac, his sole heir. One might see a faith very close to that of Christ here, for Abraham might possibly have rather died himself than kill Isaac. And secondly, Abraham believed that doing what God said was the most important thing possible.
Do you or I have this kind of faith? We probably do not have the same degree of faith, but we have the same type of faith. It is a faith that will cause us to do things that we would otherwise consider to be against our self-interest — give away our money, spend time helping someone who needs us and can never possibly repay us, for example — and it is a belief that God is the most important thing in our lives.