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Daily Devotion for February 9, 2017
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.
1. All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
2. Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.
3. The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them high and lowly,
And ordered their estate.
4. The purple headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning,
That brightens up the sky.
5. The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one:
6. The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day;
7. He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.
Music from an English folk song, adapted by William Henry Monk (1879)
Lyrics by Mrs. Cecil F. Alexander (1848)
Prayer for the Morning
Father, as I face this new day, let me be aware of the work you have done for me as I slept. I praise you that your loving care never slumbers, but has been with me while I was least aware of it; and that you renew me and the whole world, fresh every day, preparing your plans for me.
I pray that I may seek your will this day, your plan for my life, and carry out your plan in my every action. I lay my hopes and fears on an altar before you, that your Holy Spirit may guide my hopes toward the light of your holiness, and may quiet my fears with the knowledge of your infinite peace, in total confidence that your grace will save me from the evils of this world. In Jesus' name I pray,
Prayer to the King
Lord Christ, you are my King and I have no other. I will follow the laws of men, where I can do so without offending Your holy ordinances and teachings, for your Bible has taught us to obey the civil authorities. I will pay my taxes and I will render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, but they do not have my heart and they do not have my soul. For my King does not sit in a palace of stone; my King does not wear robes trimmed with fur. My King does not make promises he cannot keep. My King cannot be corrupted, will never shame me, will never make excuses. My King will never cover-up his wrongdoing, because my King commits no wrong, hates no man, and would give up His very life for me.
For my King is Jesus Christ the Almighty God of Heaven and Earth, clothed in righteousness, crowned by truth and seated on a throne of eternal glory! And to You and You alone I swear my allegiance, my faith, my hope, my life and my soul, today and as long as I live,
And finally, grant me O Lord, I pray, the lamp of charity which never fails, that it may burn in me and shed its light on those around me, and that by its brightness I may share a vision of that holy City, where dwells the true and never-failing Light, Jesus 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 verse hints that we should not read the Bible differently now, just because “the world has changed”?
Psalm 119:33-40 (“Heh”) (NKJV)
Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.
Incline my heart to Your testimonies,
And not to covetousness.
Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way.
Establish Your word to Your servant,
Who is devoted to fearing You.
Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your judgments are good.
Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me in Your righteousness.
Paul’s Secretaries (Galatians #93)
Look how large these letters are! It is because I write them with my own hand.
Notes on the Scripture
aul did not generally write his epistles, in the sense of putting his pen to the papyrus. There are two possible reasons for this. First, it simply was not the general practice for an eminent scholar to pen his own work. There was a lot of technical bother with the paper, the pen, the ink, and getting the letters into straight lines. Even more important, the professional scribes who penned letters and books were highly literate. It is hard to imagine that John, a fisherman and the son of a fisherman, could read and write very well. And there is little doubt that the Gospel of Mark was either dictated to him by Peter — who was likely illiterate — or written by Mark using Peter as his factual source, his eyewitness.
But Paul, unlike most of the original disciples, was quite literate. He had been trained as a Pharisee. It is hard to tell how good Paul might have been as a writer, but from the highly sophisticated and sometimes overarching poetic genius of his epistles, one might speculate that he was a brilliant writer, and no doubt could even read and write a fair amount of HebrewMany Christians do not realize that, at the time of Christ, Hebrew was a long-dead language. In fact, the first Jewish Bible, written and collected 300 years before Christ, was written in Greek so that Jews might be able to read it! Hebrew was read and spoken only as a liturgical language, much like Latin in the Catholic Church before Vatican II.
(Both the modern Hebrew spoken in Israel and the modern Greek spoken in Greece are actually resurrected languages, invented to supply the need for a native language in the two countries. Neither had been widely spoken for over 1,000 years.).
So, most likely, Paul did not need a scribe like the original disciples. Yet, we know from today’s verse, and similar verses (e.g. Romans 16:22, 1 Corinthians 16:21) that Paul did not pen the great bulk of his epistles. In fact, it seems that most often he wrote a single line in his epistles as a sort of signature, to guarantee their authenticity. Apparently, some of his readers knew his hand well enough to be able to vouch for a letter, where a line had been written in his characteristic penmanship. (2 Thessalonians 3:17)
But why did he do this? We get a hint from his reference to the large size of his letters. Paul probably had serious problems with his eyesight. We do not have room to gather together the evidence here, but the case is compelling, taken from small clues throughout the New Testament.
As a last word, we cannot have a discussion of great scribes without mentioning Luke. Few people realize that he wrote more of the New Testament than anyone else. His gospel and the Book of Acts have a higher word count than John (even ascribing Revelation to him) or Paul. However, if one believes that this brilliant and dedicated physician was essentially Paul’s mouthpiece, as Mark was to Peter, then one is even more impressed at the degree to which Paul is responsible for the New Testament.