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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Daily Devotion for January 24, 2017

i>Joseph and Benjamin,</i> from the Morgan Bible, French ca. 1250.
Joseph and Benjamin, from the Morgan Bible, French ca. 1250.



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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.


Some good advice, from the Salvation Army. Sing along!

For the Day's Work

O  God, who orders all things in heaven and earth: Help me to go about the tasks and duties of this day with the remembrance that I am your servant therein. Make me honest, painstaking, and cheerful, and grant that all I do and say may bring good to others and glory to your Holy Name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,


For a Blessing on the Families of the Land

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who sets the solitary person in the comfort of families; I commend to your continual care the homes in which your people dwell. Put far from them, I beseech you, every root of bitterness, the desire of boastful vanity, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh; turn the heart of the parents to the children, and the heart of the children to the parents; and fill us all with true love and charity, so that we put aside petty differences and act with kind affection and the sympathy of brotherly love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Dedication to Service

Now, oh heavenly Father, I ask to be called as a witness to your love by the love I extend to others; a precursor of your justice by my unfailing commitment to what is right and good; a lamp set on a hill, reflecting the light of Christ in my forgiveness, mercy and compassion; and a harvester of souls through my humble and dedicated servanthood. In Jesus' name, I pray,


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.

<i>Pick Up Your Cross,</i> by Wm. Adolphe Bouguereau, ca. 1880.
Pick Up Your Cross, by Wm. Adolphe Bouguereau, ca. 1880.
Isaiah 40:8

Blue Latin Cross

Galatians 6:1 (American Bible)

Logic and Truth (Galatians #84)

And if a man is overcome by something sinful, brothers, you -- the spirit-filled -- must restore such a person in the spirit of gentleness and humility, taking care lest you yourself also be tempted.

Notes on the Scripture

The chapter break between Galatians 5 and 6 is not particularly well-placed, because we want to read the first verse of Ch. 6 as part of the “fruits of the spirit” discourse at the end of Chapter 5. Paul, has just described the outpouring of good behavior one might expect, and would certainly desire, when one is indwelled of the Holy Spirit. Yet, he allows that a person might have the Spirit and yet succumb to a temptation of the flesh.

He uses the word “restore,” however, and we might understand that something must be lost or damaged to be restored. But which is it? Does Paul assume that salvation, once gained, can be lost and restored? This is the more traditional view, certainly held by the Catholic Church, and there is plenty of support for the notion throughout the New Testament. On the other hand, there are many statements in the Bible that would seem to support the “Persistence of Salvation” doctrine held by the broad category of evangelical Protestant churches — the belief that “Once Saved, Always Saved.”

This, and several other theological concepts, can be disproven either way. The Bible appears to contradict itself. And it is no use trying to twist the arguments against whichever position we want to take, so that we can pretend they don't say what they plainly do say. (This method of trying to change the Bible, so that it says what we want it to say, finds guilty theologians on every point. Both evangelical Protestant and Catholic officials have gone so far as to actually rewrite the Bible, adding material that they think should be there, or deleting words that they don't think should be there.)

In the beginning

But if the Bible contradicts itself, it is illogical! Does this mean it is untrue? A number of aggressively atheistic scholars — including a majority of prominent professors of religion at major universities — take exactly this position. They “disprove” the divine inspiration of the Bible by showing that it logically contradicts itself at several major points.

But their pride of their own intellect hides the truth. Logic is not truth. Logic is a construct of the human mind. It is often useful, especially on a small scale, but any honest scientist will tell you that science cannot explain even the visible universe. Astrophysicists will tell us that they have not “yet” discovered an integrated theory of time and space, which is a guarded way of telling us “we cannot actually explain anything, ultimately.”

We cannot even see the visible universe. We cannot see to the edge of the universe — where we could see the beginning of time — because it is masked by such powerful energy that it defeats any attempt to see through it. At the opposite end of the spectrum, we cannot see inside the universe: We cannot see into the innumerable “black holes,” for the opposite reason: they suck up any matter or energy that gets close to them.

And for that matter, no scientist can explain the behavior of physical objects that they can see. They tell us that dark matter and dark energy change space and time, but nobody even knows whether or not they exist. Scientists just made them up. Do you know what dark matter is? It is a number that has to be changed to make an equation work. It is a physicist's way of saying “my equations do not work.” He does not, notice, question his innate ability to explain reality; rather, he hypothesizes that there is something in the universe that he cannot see that defeats his calculations. (And on this point, we agree!)

Well, we have run out of space without even addressing the content of today's Scripture; so we will continue our discussion in the next installment on Galatians.

endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“ Home Sweet Home ”

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Today in Daily Prayer

Memory Verse

Philippians 2:8: Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

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