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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Daily Devotion for February 21, 2016


Christ mosaic, Ravenna, Italy
Mosaic of Christ enthroned, surrounded by angels, in Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Italy, ca. 500 AD.

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.

Prayer for All People

illuminated Bible flower ornaments

O  God, the creator and preserver of all mankind, I humbly pray to you for all sorts and conditions of humanity; that it might please you to make your Word known to them and bring your saving health to all nations. In particular I pray for the entirety of your church, in all of its many forms; that it may be guided and governed by your Holy Spirit, and that all who profess your name and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth. May all of us live in the unity of spirit our faith in Christ provides to us, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life.

Finally, I commend to your fatherly goodness all those who are ill or in distress, in their mind, body, or circumstances. May it please you to comfort and relieve them in accordance with their needs, giving them patience during their suffering, and a fortunate outcome to all of their problems. And this I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, who was always pleased to relieve the suffering of those he encountered.

Amen.

Confession

Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the previous week and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.

Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me in the coming week, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.

Amen.

Dedication

Lord, in utter humility I thank you and glorify you, that you might hear the prayer of one so small as myself, amidst the billions of souls on this planet among billions of stars in one of billions of galaxies in your universe. Let me go forth in your peace, keeping your Spirit always in my mind; and bless me, I pray, that I might always follow your will and live in the radiance of your blessing.

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.



endless knot

Psalm 22:22-24 (NKJV)

I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.

You who fear the Lord, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!

For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from Him;
But when He cried to Him, He heard.

Blue Latin Cross

Ephesians 4:1-7,11-16 (ESV)

Our Role in Christ's Church

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature adulthood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.



Notes on the Scripture

The critical part of this passage is the pivot sentence, “But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Christ did not leave anyone without some work to do on earth.

Our natural inclination as human beings, living in a society, is to value people according to some scale of importance. The talented, the highly visible, the televised, the quoted . . . in fact, in the media, a cult of celebrity has sprung up, comprised of people whose only claim to fame is that they are famous.

But it is illusory, and it is erroneous. Your work for Christ, whatever it may be, is as important as anyone’s. The eyes that matter are the eyes of God, not those of the local news anchor, or a local gossip, or an applauding audience. God sees what you do and approves your mission in Christ, whether you lead millions or perform an uncredited small kindness to a stranger. Our roles stem from the nature of the gift given to us by Christ, not from some inherent degree of greatness in which we may glory or feel humiliation. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

C

hurches can easily fall into this error, for we seek by our nature a leader. But although pastors and bishops may be critically important the the earthly church, they are not greater in the eyes of God than food service workers, or the funny-looking guy in the corner with his head lowered. It is a mistake to fix our gaze upon a human being; we must remember always to fix our gaze on Christ, and to love and value ourselves and all of our brothers and sisters, no matter how humble or exalted our contribution to the body of Christ may seem in earthly terms.



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