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Daily Devotion for February 23, 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.
But I must go along
Till the Lord comes and calls, calls me away.
Well the morning's so bright
And the lamb is the light
And the night, night is as fair as the day.
There will be peace in the valley for me,
There will be peace in the valley for me,
oh Lord I pray.
There'll be no sadness, no sorrow
No trouble, trouble I see
There will be peace in the valley for me.
Well the bear will be gentle
And the wolves will be tame,
And the lion shall lay down by the lamb.
And the beasts from the wild
Shall be led by a child,
And I'll be changed, changed from this creature
That I am.
Prayer to Live Christ's Word Today
Gracious God, Jesus is calling me to a new beginning; to a fresh call to discipleship. You are asking me to deny myself, take up my cross and follow you. It was at my baptism that you claimed me as your child.
Today, I affirm that I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. I surrender my will, my desires and my life to you, O God. I commit myself to your call to discipleship: to pray, study your Word, worship you, invite other people to a life of discipleship, encourage Christians in their life of faith, serve those in need, and give joyfully of the gifts that You first gave me.
This I pray in Jesus' name.
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
The blessing of the Lord rest and remain upon all his people, in every land, of every tongue; the Lord meet in mercy all that seek him; the Lord comfort all who suffer and mourn; the Lord hasten his coming, and give us, his people, the blessing of peace, this day and always.
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
Has Christianity actually changed over the years?
Top Ten Signs You May Not Be Reading Your Bible Enough
10) The preacher announces the sermon is from Genesis . . . and you check the Table of Contents.
9) You think Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob may have had a few hit songs during the 60s.
8) You open to the Gospel of Luke and a WWII Savings Bond falls out.
7) Your favorite Old Testament patriarch is Hercules.
6) A small family of woodchucks has taken up residence in the Psalms of your Bible.
5) You become frustrated because Charlton Heston isn’t listed in either the Concordance or the Table of Contents.
4) Catching the kids reading the Song of Songs, you demand: “Who gave you this stuff?”
3) You think the minor prophets worked in the quarries.
2) You keep falling for it every time when the pastor tells you to turn to First Condominiums.
1) The kids keep asking too many questions about your usual bedtime story: “Jonah, the Shepherd Boy, and His Ark of Many Colors.”
~ “Mikey,” a.k.a. Mike Atkinson
Colossians 3:16 (ESV)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.
Notes on the Scripture
In a recent comment on Galatians, we explored the idea that faith, rather than being something we do, is something we receive from the Holy Spirit. We see a second, related aspect in the same vein in Romans 10:17: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
When I think of faith, two people come to mind immediately: Abraham and Jesus. And both of them heard the Word of God, literally. In Abraham’s case, God spoke to him as a friend might, even materializing in the form of a human being (or an angel) to hold conversations with him. In Jesus’ case, He had a special prayer relationship with the Father. It appears from many passages that God spoke clear words to Jesus in His prayers, giving Him information not available to Jesus in His human form, and giving Him instructions. One must think especially of Jesus praying that “this cup be taken from me,” (e.g Luke 22:39-46) and then showing from His immediate behavior that then answer had been, “No.”
One other incident in Jesus’ life stands out. When Satan tempted Him in the wilderness, what were the form of Jesus’ responses. They were recitations of Scripture.
Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:3-4)
But during the age we now live in, for reasons known only to Himself, God does not speak to us in clear audible English. He doesn't need to. What God wants us to know, He has written down. God’s Word does appear to us in clear legible English. Want to have God speak to you? He already has. It's right there in the Bible, in black and white.
About a year ago, Daily Prayer started a “Remember the Bible” series, to help us memorize. It isn't a burdensome program: The memory verses are short and there is only one presented every two weeks. So, if you have not been participating, I strongly encourage you to start. If you memorize only one short verse each week, you will be caught up in a year.
The benefits of knowing some critical passages by memory are so many, and could support so much encouragement, that they would fill ten pages this size. First, Bible verses that are memorized will come back to us. We don’t have to mentally stumble around, knowing something but unable to relate it directly to God’s Word.
This is invaluable in so many settings. If somebody says something that is confused or mistaken, you can point him to a page in the Bible that will help him out. Memorized Scripture is invaluable when we’re being tempted. Again, it is how Jesus reacted to Satan’s temptation. And exhortations to learn God’s Word verbatim pop up throughout the Bible. E.g. Psalm 119:11 “For I have written your Word on my heart, that I might not sin against you.” As the saying goes, “Don’t forget what you learned in the light when you’re in the dark.”
Memorizing Scripture is an invaluable, unique tool to help us to live out our faith. It is important to keep in mind that memorizing God’s Word is not the final objective, since we are called to be “doers” of the word (James 2:14-19; Matthew 7:24-27). But how can we follow the Word when we do not know it? “But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.” (Deuteronomy 30:14)
Note: We have a helpful game called Match-a-Verse you can use to help learn both the text and the cite for verses in our Memory Verses. They are also listed in their entirety on the page titled “Remember the Bible.”)