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Daily Devotion for February 29, 2016
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.
If you see your brother standing by the road
With a heavy load from the seeds he sowed;
And if you see your sister falling by the way
Just stop and say you're goin' the wrong way.
You've got to try a little kindness
Yes show a little kindness,
Yes shine your light for everyone to see.
And if you'll try a little kindness and you'll overlook the blindness
Of the narrow minded people on the narrow minded streets.
Don't walk around the down and out
Lend a helping hand instead of doubt,
And the kindness that you show every day
Will help someone along their way.
Music and Lyrics by
Curt Sapaugh and Bobby Austin (1969)
George Washington's Monday Morning Prayer
O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before thy Divine majesty, beseeching thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks, that it hath pleased thy great goodness to keep and preserve me the night past from all the dangers poor mortals are subject to, and has given me sweet and pleasant sleep, whereby I find my body refreshed and comforted for performing the duties of this day, in which I beseech thee to defend me from all perils of body and soul.
Direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the lamb, and purge my heart by thy Holy Spirit, from the dross of my natural corruption, that I may with more freedom of mind and liberty of will serve thee, the ever lasting God, in righteousness and holiness this day, and all the days of my life. In the name of Holy Christ, I pray,
A Lenten Prayer
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan; Come quickly to help me, who is assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of myself and all people, let all of your servants find you mighty to save; in Jesus name I pray,
To Witness Boldly
Dear Heavenly Father, I lower my head before you and confess that I have too often forgotten that I am your child. Too often, I carry on my life as if you do not exist, falling far short of being a bold witness to You. For this, I ask your forgiveness, and I pray that you will give me strength, courage, a clear mind and an open heart when you call upon me to witness to your mighty love. Remind me always to strive to be who You would have me be, no matter where I am, or what I am doing, or who I am with. Make me into your lantern, precious Lord, and let your light shine through me so bright that all can see it.
[What parts of the Bible does my mind find reasons to reject?]
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time,
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.
The day we find the perfect church, it becomes imperfect the moment we join it.
~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon
1 Corinthians 10-13, 17 (ESV)
Who Do We Follow?
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”
Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
* * *
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul was, arguably, the greatest teacher of Christ in history, the first speaker in the realm of Christian doctrine. He preached by direct commission from the arisen Christ. I have heard or read a number of accounts where Paul is accused of pridefulness, especially in relation to the Counsel of Jerusalem, and some of his teachings might be interpreted in that way.
But here, as so often is true, we must beware imposing our own interpretation on the Bible, especially when we lack a plain statement in the Bible itself to support us, and even more especially when there is a plain statement in the Bible that refutes us! Paul, here, condemns those who would be his disciples. And if even an inspired author of the New Testament denies the special status of doctrinal leadership, how can any other person possibly claim it?
Christianity has divided itself into sects and denominations, all of which claim the status that Paul reviles for any person, himself included. How thoughtlessly we divide ourselves. When I was a boy, there were bumper stickers that said “I am an Episcopalian.” We even had a song,“There are no Episcopalians down in hell.” “I am Catholic,” “I am an Evangelical Christian,” “I am a” — well, enough of that. We are followers of Christ and Christ only. “Christian” is a term that cannot be modified.
ut that is not all we can take away from this short verse. More commonly, someone will assert: “(Insert the name of a minister, bishop, writer, church leader, etc.) says that . . . .” Quoting a learned source is wonderful, for there have been hundreds of pious and brilliant expositors of Christian doctrine. But where someone makes an argument that refutes a simple and clear statement in the Bible, or adds as Gospel something that the Bible does not say, their authority is zero.
And this short verse is the perfect proof we can use, if we hear non-Biblical doctrine. Not to pick on Billy Graham, but as an example: “Is Christ divided? Was Billy Graham crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Billy Graham?”
And one reminder: If we are to worship with others, as the Bible teaches us we should, we are going to belong to a church that teaches non-Biblical doctrine. We must approach denominations to which we do not belong in the spirit of harmony. Criticizing others is the easy way out; it is ourselves and ourselves alone whom Christ authorizes us to criticize.
“Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)