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Daily Devotion for April 16, 2015
“And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance to him, and kissed him.” (Ex. 18:7)
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 is what you would have to call “the voices of angels”.
(Note: Composers frequently repeat, omit, or put phrases out of order.)
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
For Faithfulness in the Use of this World's Goods
Almighty God, whose loving hand has given me all that I possess; Grant me grace that I may honor you with my substance, and remembering the account which I must one day give, may be a faithful steward of your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A Prayer of Thanksgiving
O God, who is near us always, I thank you for all the good gifts with which you have filled my life; for love that makes life beautiful, for all thoughts that uplift and gladden, for faith to believe and strength to attain, for every experience which humbles and teaches the need of you. Let me never doubt that, having led me thus far, you will lead me to the end. I wish to serve you; show me how I can do it best. Graciously look upon me and use me as you will. And grant that I may employ all of your gifts to the end of setting forth of your glory; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
For Those Who Are Struggling
Heavenly Father, I pray for all my Christian brothers and sisters and for each and every family member in their households. I pray for peace to come in their hearts; I pray for love and joy to abound in their homes; I pray that they might enjoy good health, that they are not in debt, and that all their needs are met.
I pray that every eye that reads this knows there is no problem, circumstance, or situation greater than you, Mighty God. Every battle is in your hands for you to fight, Lord. I pray that these words be received into the hearts of every eye that sees them and every mouth that confesses them. In Christ’s name,
[Every battle is in the hands of God.]
As I travel through the rest of my day, may the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit I may abound in hope.
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.
Matthew 15:7-9 (ESV)
You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
Galatians 26, 28-29 (DP Bible)
All One in Christ Jesus
28-29 You are all sons of God in Christ; for if you abide in Christ, you are equal heirs according to the promise God made to Abraham. There exists neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many in Christ you were baptized, in Christ you were clothed qClothed might have a connotation of coming into maturity, an event that was marked by a formal and frequently ceremonial change of clothing from that of a child to that of a man. .
28 not there is Jew nor Greek, not there is slave nor free, not there is male and female, for all you one are in Christ Jesus.
29 And if you in Christ, then of Abraham descendants you are, according to promise heirs.
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
There is so much content in these brief verses that one could spend weeks discussing all of the ramifications. The critical distinction Paul wants to make, in order to summarize Chapter 3, is that the distinction between Jew and Greek does not exist. But he takes the opportunity to open a wider door: Every human being is an equal heir to the promise God made to Abraham, without any distinction of ethnicity, status, or gender.
It is something that every one of us will do well to remember. I might have told this joke before, and it is actually a Jewish joke (that is, a joke told by Jews), so I'll leave it in the original setting:
A rabbi celebrating Shabbat is filled with a feeling of holiness and falls prostrate on the floor during the service. He cries out, “Oh Mighty Lord, I am a mere worm before you. I am nothing! I am less than nothing.”
The Cantor is seized by the same spirit, and fall prostrate beside the Rabbi. “I am nothing before you, less than nothing!” he cries out.
The shammes (sexton) is standing in the wings, preparing to clean up after the service, but he too runs out before the congregation and falls on the floor in front of the altar. “My Lord, My God,” he cries, “I am nothing before you.”
The Cantor raises his head and looks at the shammes. Then he leans over towards the Rabbi and whispers, “So. Look who thinks he’s nothing.”
Jews, apparently, have the same feeling about pride in one's holiness that Christians have. One can simply substitute “pastor and senior warden” or “rector and associate priest” for the rabbi and cantor, and it's just as good a joke about Christianity.
The humor lies in the irony of human imperfectibility. We cannot become perfectly holy because, even if we do, we will be proud of our holiness.
Our standing as souls in the eyes of God is, in a fundamental sense, equal unlike any other equality in existence. There is no temporal aspect that affects if. In a very important and fundamental sense, God sees the Pope or Billy Graham just as He sees a mass murderer who has confessed his sin and called upon Christ to save him by grace. We cannot be perfect, and it is for this reason that we must accept Christ.
Like every other sin, the human characteristic of looking at some people as better than others must be constantly monitored in prayer and meditation. The Bible — and we see this very strongly in Paul’s epistles — tells certain people to accept temporal servitude or subordination without attempting to rise above it. We must be very clear that the underpinning of such teachings is that the status of one in life is ultimately utterly meaningless to God. Women, young people, and slaves (or bondservants) in particular are taught to accept subordination in some aspects of life. To the human mind, this is foolishness. But this is exactly the kind of puzzle Paul had in mind when he said, “[T]he foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
We look to Christ as our model, not to Bill Gates, not to the President of the United States, not to the biggest star in Hollywood. Christ humbled Himself to the uttermost, being hung on a cross to die as a cheap common criminal. “The meek,” He told us, “shall inherit the earth.” Christ turned the pecking order upside-down. But He alone, among all humanity, lived exactly what He taught. He was the greatest of all men, not in spite of His humility, but because of it. He was the slave, the wife, the obedient Son.