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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Daily Devotion for November 6, 2016


<i>Saint Francis in Ecstasy (detail)</i> by Giovanni Bellini, ca. 1480
Saint Francis in Ecstasy (detail) by Giovanni Bellini, ca. 1480. Saint Francis surely came as close to perfect love of Christ as anyone in the past 1000 years, and here he receives an earthly reward. The castle behind him was his inheritance, which he rejected for an open cave.

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.

Our “Virtual Sunday Church” has us worshipping with Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Augustine, Florida.



For the Spirit of Prayer

Almighty God, who pours out the spirit of grace and of supplication to all who ask for it; Deliver me, when I draw near to you, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, so that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections, I may worship You in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Covenant Prayer

I  am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.

Amen.

Thirty Days of Thanksgiving

#5 What sound am I thankful for?


Confession of Sins, with a Prayer for Contrition and Pardon.

Most merciful God, whose eyes are too pure to behold iniquity, and who has promised forgiveness to all those who confess and forsake their sins; I come before you in a humble sense of my own unworthiness, confessing my many transgressions of your righteous laws. [* Here make a short pause, to remember and confess the sins and failings of the past week.] But, O gracious Father, who desires not the death of a sinner, look upon me, I beseech you, in mercy, and forgive me for all my transgressions. Make me deeply sensible of the great evil of them; and work in me a hearty repentance; that I may obtain forgiveness at your hands, who is ever ready to receive humble and penitent sinners; for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, my only Saviour and Redeemer.

Amen.

Benediction

May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions in the coming week, and always.

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

James 1:26 (NKJV)

If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.


Blue Latin Cross

Ephesians 1:17-21 (ESV)

[I pray that] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.


Notes on the Scripture

The Scripture is part of the third longest sentence in the New Testament (the longest being directly before it in verses 3-14). It can be hard to read, but it is worth the effort. We can break it down into smaller chunks, to grasp the enormous implications of what it means to us.

W

hat is it that Paul prays for in behalf of the Ephesians? Does he pray that they are relieved of suffering and persecution, or that they become rich, or that they take control of Ephesus and slap it into shape, or that they be recognized and lauded, or that they gain in earthly power? No, not a whit. The great things he prays for is, first, the illumination of their understanding — their spiritual understanding. He prays and desires that they be strong in the spirit, the knowledge and love of God.

Second, revelation in the knowledge of Christ. He wants them to know Christ from top to bottom. Does he want them to know Christ in an intellectual sense, being able to talk about the facts of his life or recite his teachings? Well, yes, probably, but that is not his prayer. He prays that the “eyes of their hearts” will be enlightened. Because Christ, in his teaching, made this the primary attribute of anyone who would follow him: That their heart would be transformed so completely that they would die and be reborn, leaving their sinful earthly nature in the dust whence it came, and thereafter, living in and for the hope of glory.

This is our inheritance, if we only claim it. Christ gave us the power to be called the children of God, if we would only follow him and him alone. It is an inheritance greater than any other; in fact, it is the only inheritance that is real and permanent, that will allow us to find true joy and fulfillment. It is not something we can do for ourselves. It is God's power toward us who believe, which is immeasurably great; it is the working of God's great might that will make it possible for us to do all things, be all things, not our intelligence or money or the strength of our arm, not our beauty or our prideful ambitions.

This all sounds great, but why are we supposed to believe such extraordinary claims? Because God showed us his might and his dominion over all things by raising Christ from the dead! Life itself, which dominates the mind of the unsaved, is completely subject to God's power. We are called upon to decide. There was an old hymn which started, “Once to every man and nation, comes a moment to decide.” It has become less popular in some contemporary theological circles, who do not grasp the great truths of Ephesians. This is one of Satan's greatest allies: to crack into our soul through compromise and dilution of God's word.

But then Paul gives us the unvarnished truth: God has seated Christ “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion”. The powers of this world are at his mercy, if they would just realize it. And not just in this age or in the past, but in all ages to come. It is Christ and not the kings of earth to whom we should pay attention.

This prayer is worth reading again and again, for Paul prays for us to do what is absolutely in our best interest: to dedicate ourselves to the real and enduring truth of Jesus Christ.



Capital “B”, Hunterian Psalter, English ca. 1170. This is the beginning of Psalm 1, Beatus vir — “Blessed is the man who walks”.

Daily Inspiration

“Who Do You Love?”

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Today in Daily Prayer


Memory Verse

2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.


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