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Daily Devotion for December 19, 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.
May Luciano Pavarotti’s soul be blessed. He truly gave us a foretaste of the voices of angels.
(Note: Composers frequently repeat, omit, or put phrases out of order.)
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
Prayer for Renewal
As I start this day, oh Lord, I wonder: How will this day be different from any other day? Has my faith in you grown into a stale routine, or will I grow this day, closer to you than I have ever been?
Shake me up, Holy God! Rattle the door of my cage, set off my smoke detector, ring my doorbell until I answer the door! Let me read your Word until something new sinks in; let me pray until I hear your voice, until all smugness has given way to gratitude. By the power of your Holy Spirit, renew me afresh in your Word and power, today and every day, energizing me in your great commission. In Christ's name, I pray.
Oh King of David, and sceptre of the house of Israel, who opens so that none can shut, and shuts so that none can open: Come, bring the prisoners out of the prison, those who are shut in darkness and the shadow of death.
Oh Dayspring, brightness of the light everlasting, sun everlasting: Come, enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.
Oh King of all nations, desire of all nations, cornerstone of the single church within which all may dwell: Come, save divided mankind, whom you have formed from clay.
Oh Emmanuel, our King and lawgiver, the salvation of all: Come, save us, Oh Lord our God.
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have blessed me with the grace of forgiveness through the sacrifice He made for me and for all people. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.
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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
What Bible verse warns us against adopting the values of our society?
Proverbs 18:2 (ESV)
but only in expressing his opinion.
Luke 1:39-45 (ESV)
Blessed Are You Among Women
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb.
And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ”Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
Notes on the Scripture
The Scripture from today and yesterday forms the basis of the text for the Ave Maria. Although this is known primarily as a Catholic prayer or hymn, I have heard it sung in Methodist and Baptist churches, so I surmise that it is appreciated in most denominations.
lizabeth is Mary's cousin, and the two have good reason to be friends. Both of them have become pregnant by a miracle announced by Gabriel, an angel of God; in Elizabeth's case, she was unable to have children, and in Mary's case, she has not slept with a man. Moreover, their children's lives will be linked together in the most profound moment of human history. Elizabeth's child, John the Baptist, will be a great prophet in his time and will become the man who announces the imminent arrival of Christ, and then baptizes Him.
As a special Christmas extra, here's a second video, a heartrending version of Ave Maria, voiced over the scene of Elizabeth greeting Mary in The Passion of the Christ. Sung by Olga Szyrowa; music by Michał Lorenc.